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Aviation Indian Air Force’s MMRCA RFP: Responses pour in Pg 11 • Boeing pitches heavy duty C-17s Pg 26 • EBACE show review: Mercury rising Pg 32 • Cessna sighted down south Pg 30

SP’s

AN SP GUIDE PUBLICATION

News Flies. We Gather Intelligence. Every Month. From India.

ISSUE 5 • 2008

RNI NUMBER: DELENG/2008/24199

www.spsaviation.net

Business Aviation

Enthralls India


NCOC

C-130J

F-16 with Sniper Targeting Pod

P-3

MH-60R

PAC-3

B E T W E E N PA R T N E R S HI P S P R O MI S E D A N D PA R T N E R S HI P S A C HI E V E D, T H E R E I S O N E IM P O R TA N T W O R D : H O W.

In a world that continues to change dramatically, governments increasingly seek to accomplish their most vital goals by working with advanced technology companies from around the globe. Building and sustaining partnerships that achieve their objectives is a matter of how. And it is the how that makes all the difference.

lockheedmartin.com/how


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Working as a team ensures success

For more information visit our website at www.honeywell.com or call: North America – Tel: 1-800-421-2133 • Europe – Tel: +44 (0)1935 475181 • South East Asia – Tel: +61 3 9330 1511 © 2008 Honeywell International Inc. All rights reserved.


Table of Contents

Aviation SP’s

Regular Departments 4 A Word from Editor 8 NewsWithViews

AN SP GUIDE PUBLICATION

News Flies. We Gather Intelligence. Every Month. From India.

ISSUE 5 • 2008

Military

28 UPGRADES HIGH COSTS OF INDECISION

-

Laser-Guided Lethality A Perfect 10 Whispers of Discontent

11

InFocus

-

Q&A

13 -

14 MMRCA DEAL BALANCING ACT

40 44

Civil

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21 BUSINESS AVIATION ON A ROLL, UPHILL 23 FLIGHT SAFETY SAFETY AT STAKE 30 BUSINESS AVIATION CESSNA SIGHTED

Responses Pour in

Forum

Debilitating Pace

NewsDigest LastWord

Price of Procrastination

16

Cover Story

16 BUSINESS AVIATION INDIA ENTHRALLED

Hall of Fame

Photo Credit: Dassault

CORRIGENDUM—Cover Story “Lightning Pace” in SP’s Aviation Issue 4, 2008 made the erroneous observation:“With the remaining F-35 participant countries planning to acquire another 600 to 700 aircraft, the total production figure already exceeds 3,200 and may touch 2,035, making it one of the most numerous jet fighters.”The correct statement is:“With the remaining F-35 participant countries planning to acquire another 600 to 700 aircraft, the production figure till the year 2035 already exceeds 3,200, making the F-35 one of the most numerous jet fighters.”

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Business Aviation Busin

Enthralls Ind India

PUBLISHER AND EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Jayant Baranwal

ASSOCIATE ART DIRECTOR: Ratan Sonal LAYOUT DESIGNS: Raj Kumar Sharma

ASSISTANT EDITOR Arundhati Das

© SP Guide Publications, 2008

SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT & COPY EDITOR Sanjay Kumar SENIOR VISITING EDITOR Air Marshal (Retd) V.K. Bhatia SENIOR TECHNICAL GROUP EDITORS Air Marshal (Retd) B.K. Pandey Lt General (Retd) Naresh Chand SUB-EDITOR Bipasha Roy

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CONTRIBUTORS India Air Marshal (Retd) P.K. Mehra, Air Marshal (Retd) Raghu Rajan, Air Marshal (Retd) N. Menon, Air Marshal (Retd) V. Patney, Group Captain A.K. Sachdev Europe Alan Peaford, Phil Nasskau, Justin Wastnage, Rob Coppinger, Andrew Brookes, Paul Beaver, Gunter Endres (UK) USA & Canada Sushant Deb, Lon Nordeen, Anil R. Pustam (West Indies) CHAIRMAN & MANAGING DIRECTOR Jayant Baranwal Owned, published and printed by Jayant Baranwal, printed at Rave India and published at A-133, Arjun Nagar (Opposite Defence Colony), New Delhi 110 003, India. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, photocopying, recording, electronic, or otherwise without prior written permission of the Publishers.

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ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTION Inland: Rs 850 • Foreign: US$ 250 Email: subscribe@spguidepublications.com ADVERTISING DETAILS’ CONTACTS guidepub@vsnl.com shikha@guidepublications.com r.ranjan@guidepublications.com SP GUIDE PUBLICATIONS PVT LTD A-133 Arjun Nagar, (Opposite Defence Colony) New Delhi 110 003, India. Tel: +91 (11) 24644693, 24644763, 24620130 Fax: +91 (11) 24647093 Email: guidepub@vsnl.com POSTAL ADDRESS Post Box No 2525 New Delhi 110 005, India. REPRESENTATIVE OFFICE BANGALORE, INDIA 534, Jal Vayu Vihar Kammanhalli Main Road Bangalore 560043, India. Tel: +91 (80) 23682534 MOSCOW, RUSSIA LAGUK Co., Ltd., (Yuri Laskin) Krasnokholmskaya, Nab., 11/15, app. 132, Moscow 115172, Russia. Tel: +7 (495) 911 2762 Fax: +7 (495) 912 1260

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38 WRIGHT BROTHERS

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The Elite Class: India is home to 53 billionaires and 1,00,000 millionaires. The high spending power has engineered a shift away from just owning a business aircraft to having a custom built one. (Seen above is the recently introduced Gulfstream G150. Photo Credit: Gulfstream)

Cover Photo: A Falcon 2000LX in flight. India is emerging as a major hub for business aviation with key players lining up with their wares.

Issue 5 • 2008

6/5/08 7:01:09 PM


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For more information visit our website at www.honeywell.com or call: North America – Tel: 1-800-421-2133 • Europe – Tel: +44 (0)1935 475181 • South East Asia – Tel: +61 3 9330 1511 © 2008 Honeywell International Inc. All rights reserved.


A Word from Editor

Birth,growth and maturity make for a complete cycle in any development process.So even as business aviation takes India by storm,harsh ground realities demand a closer inspection and a blast from the past reminds us from where it all started.

S

everal notches above the ‘Business Class’ is the fastemerging ‘Elite Class’—a bracket born of the shrinking gap between affordability of a business jet and the purchasing power of a large number of business houses and businessmen. India, home to 53 billionaires and 1,00,000 millionaires, is enmeshed in the thralls of the luxury, power and prestige associated with owning a pair of wings. The comparison to sports cars is not just on account of sleek looks and speed, there is also the subliminal linkage which renders business jets objects of desire, symbols of status and something you must have if the Jones’s possess one. Capturing the hype and ooh-la-la, Group Captain A.K. Sachdev rightly surmises: “What Internet did to out-of-office work, the new class of business jets will do for in-flight work.” And perhaps the flamboyant Dr Vijay Mallya will bring production of these glamourous wings to India? News is Dr Mallya’s UB Group has initiated talks with France-based EADS Socata, a leading aircraft manufacturer, to co-develop business jets. Flipping the coin, Joseph Noronha pragmatically observes that Indian business aviation faces daunting challenges, including woeful infrastructure. A combination of pragmatism and pace hold the key for the smooth transition of the MMRCA deal. Good news is all the six contenders met the revised deadline in submitting individual responses by April 28 to the Request for Proposal. Bad

Jayant Baranwal

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF JAYANT BARANWAL WITH THE USN F/A-18 AT THE LEMOORE NAVAL AIR STATION, US

4

SP’S AVIATION

news would be the hint of any credence to rumours of certain anomalies that might force a redo of the RFP exercise. Even as InFocus and Forum deliberate on the nuances of the deal and the aircraft on offer, SP’s directed a quickfire round at the contestants. Of the six frontrunners, three replied. Stealing a march, Boeing played host to an entourage of mediapersons and pundits, including self, at a whirlwind tour of its various facilities and operation hubs in the US. A detailed analysis of the C-17 heavy airlift capability transport aircraft in this edition is the first in a series of articles on Boeing’s wares. On a sombre note, the Last Word scans the April 29 episode when a brand new Hawk, among the fleet of 10 recently acquired by the Indian Air Force, crashed at Air Force Station Bidar. India, notes Air Marshal (Retd) B.K. Pandey, is well aware of the price that has been paid in terms of lives and aircraft lost in the last two decades owing essentially to enigmatic procrastination in the induction of the Hawk. Hall of Fame, this time around, presents the pièce de résistance. Quite fittingly so, while the Cover Story captures the exciting prospects of the emerging new trends in business aviation, the Hall of Fame reminiscences on the Wright brothers—the first to demonstrate that sustained flight was possible with heavier-than-air machines. A humbling account of the pioneers who gave the human race its wings.

Publisher & Editor-in-Chief Issue 5 • 2008


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For more information visit our website at www.honeywell.com or call: North America – Tel: 1-800-421-2133 • Europe – Tel: +44 (0)1935 475181 • South East Asia – Tel: +61 3 9330 1511 © 2008 Honeywell International Inc. All rights reserved.


T H E

W O R L D ’ S

F I R S T

S U P E R

R E G I O N A L

J E T

You are looking at the future. A future that holds no place for dated, conventional ‘Regional Jets’. Enter the new aircraft that has helped create, and will define, the new Super Regional sector of tomorrow. The purpose-built Sukhoi Superjet 100 family of 75 and 95 seat aircraft. Aircraft built in the 21st Century, to meet the demands of the 21st Century. Utilising state-of the-art technology. Reducing weight. Giving airlines unprecedented reliability, lower maintenance costs, lower operating costs. And 10% lower fuel consumption than their rivals. Offering airlines choice. In flexibility of range and fleet. In capacity optimization. Delivering improved passenger comfort. With wider seats and wider aisles. More headroom, and 27% more bin capacity. The Sukhoi Superjet 100 family. Marketed jointly with Superjet International along with after sales support and built in collaboration with some of the finest aviation companies in Europe and America, with Boeing as consultant. If rivals aren’t developing an inferiority complex by now, they will after visiting www.sukhoi.superjet100.com

sukhoi superjet 100 is designed , developed and built by sukhoi civil aircraft company . superjet international is a joint venture between

SP_AVIATION_267x420_ LAUNCH.indd 1

sukhoi and alenia aeronautica . for sales , aftersales and marketing visit www . sukhoi . superjet 100 . com and www . superjetinternational . com

15/5/08 14:48:06


T H E

W O R L D ’ S

F I R S T

S U P E R

R E G I O N A L

J E T

You are looking at the future. A future that holds no place for dated, conventional ‘Regional Jets’. Enter the new aircraft that has helped create, and will define, the new Super Regional sector of tomorrow. The purpose-built Sukhoi Superjet 100 family of 75 and 95 seat aircraft. Aircraft built in the 21st Century, to meet the demands of the 21st Century. Utilising state-of the-art technology. Reducing weight. Giving airlines unprecedented reliability, lower maintenance costs, lower operating costs. And 10% lower fuel consumption than their rivals. Offering airlines choice. In flexibility of range and fleet. In capacity optimization. Delivering improved passenger comfort. With wider seats and wider aisles. More headroom, and 27% more bin capacity. The Sukhoi Superjet 100 family. Marketed jointly with Superjet International along with after sales support and built in collaboration with some of the finest aviation companies in Europe and America, with Boeing as consultant. If rivals aren’t developing an inferiority complex by now, they will after visiting www.sukhoi.superjet100.com

sukhoi superjet 100 is designed , developed and built by sukhoi civil aircraft company . superjet international is a joint venture between

SP_AVIATION_267x420_ LAUNCH.indd 1

sukhoi and alenia aeronautica . for sales , aftersales and marketing visit www . sukhoi . superjet 100 . com and www . superjetinternational . com

15/5/08 14:48:06


NewsWithViews

LASER-GUIDED LETHALITY

The Airborne Laser (ABL), under development by the US Missile Defence Agency and the industry team Boeing, Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin, is making tremendous progress towards providing a rapidly deployable and quick-reaction capability to destroy ballistic missiles in their boost phase of flight, or shortly after they are launched. “We stand on the verge of fully demonstrating a revolutionary warfighting capability,” said Pat Shanahan, Vice President and General Manager of Boeing Missile Defense Systems in a recent media meet. On June 1, Boeing and the US Missile Defense Agency completed the first laser activation testing for the ABL missile defence programme.

VIEWS

ILLUSTRATION: MAMTA

I

magine this. A military airplane, armed with a laser, blasting hostile ballistic missiles out of the sky. Travelling at the speed of light, the laser beams target the missiles so swiftly that these are destroyed in the boost phase itself while still cruising over enemy territory. Sounds like science fiction? Not anymore. The ABL programme was initiated by the US Air Force in 1996, but with the emergence of Axis of Evil countries—Iraq, Iran, North Korea—as projected by the US, the programme was transferred in 2001 to the US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and converted to an acquisition programme. To accomplish its mission of countering threats, the MDA has developed a multifaceted strategy. The weaponry it is developing emphasises hit-to-kill technology. Layered defences address the interception of enemy missiles at different segments in their trajectory such as the boost, midcourse and terminal phases. It is in the boost phase segment, the MDA is trying to acquire the ABL capability to attack and destroy hostile ballistic missiles. The ABL weapon system consists of a high-energy, chemical oxygen iodine laser mounted on a modified 747400F freighter aircraft to shoot down theatre ballistic missiles. Incidentally, for the initial development, a retired Air India 747-200 was acquired by the USAF in 2001 and road-transported without its wings from Mojave airport to Edwards Air Base where the airframe was incorporated into the System Integration Laboratory for proving of the concept and groundtesting. A crew of four, including pilot and copilot, would be required to manoeuvre the modified 747-400F, christened Boeing YAL-1 ABL, which would probably operate in pairs at altitudes of about 40,000 ft. Capable of autonomous operation, the ABL would acquire and track missiles in the boost phase of flight, illuminating the missile with a tracking laser beam while computers calculate parameters such as distance, course and 8

SP’S AVIATION

Issue 5 • 2008

atmospheric turbulence to determine the aim-point. After locking onto the target, a second laser, with weaponclass strength, would fire a burst lasting barely three to five seconds from a turret located in the 747’s nose, destroying the missile over the launch area. Reported to be the largest in the world to be fitted on an aircraft, the turret—which lends ABL its distinctive appearance—points the laser beam at the target. Sparing the time and effort to turn the aircraft to fire at a missile, the high-energy laser beam burns through the skin of the target missile which disintegrates due to high dynamic stresses experienced in the missile’s flight. Boeing is the prime contractor for ABL and provides the aircraft and battle management and leads the overall systems integration and testing. Among its industry partners, Northrop Grumman supplies the missile-killing, high-energy laser as well as the beacon illuminator laser while, Lockheed Martin provides the beam control/fire control system. As mentioned earlier, the ABL has been primarily designed for use against theatre ballistic missiles. Recently, however, MDA suggested it might be used against Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) during boost phase. If the ABL achieves its design goals, it could destroy liquid-fuelled ICBMs up to 600 km away. But, against tougher solid-fuel ICBMs the destruction range would likely be limited to 300 km—too short to be useful in many scenarios. But, then, the ABL will complement other missile defence systems with a niche of its own in the entire network of Ballistic Missile Defences. Developing a cutting-edge system like the ABL isn’t easy. But all major technology breakthroughs have been achieved and the ABM team of three US aerospace giants is set to meet the testing target of actual destruction of a boosting ballistic missile in 2009. SP — Air Marshal (Retd) V.K. Bhatia


NewsWithViews

A PERFECT 10

On April 28, an Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) successfully launched 10 satellites. The 44-m long rocket lifted off from the second launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at 03:53:51 GMT (09:24 local time) and reached a polar, Sun-synchronous low Earth orbit a little over seven minutes later. Following burnout of the fourth stage of the carrier rocket, the payload consisting of 10 satellites were released. The PSLV flew in the Core Alone, configuration, with no solid rocket boosters around the first stage. All 10 satellites—the 690 kg Indian remote sensing satellite Cartosat-2A, the 83 kg Indian Mini Satellite and eight Nano Satellites developed by university students in Canada, Japan, Denmark, Germany and The Netherlands—were injected into the desired orbits successfully.

VIEWS

ILLUSTRATION: MAMTA

T

o launch a single satellite successfully is a demanding task. To launch 10 in a single mission is astounding. There is some uncertainty as to whether this achievement by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is a world record. The only other country believed to have sent into space a large number of satellites in a single launch is Russia. However, there is inconsistency in the various reports on the number of satellites on board the Russian space vehicle Dnepr launched in April 2007. The figure, quoted by various sources, varies between eight and 16. However, all reports maintain that the total weight was less than 300 kg as against 824 kg carried by the PSLV C9. In 2006, a Russian space vehicle with 18 satellites, including two Japanese nano satellites, ended in failure. US space agency NASA, meanwhile, has been launching regularly up to four satellites aboard a single launch vehicle. What is far more difficult than the launch itself is to control the whole exercise from the ground and achieve a high degree of precision. The eight nano-satellites were released at intervals of 20 seconds and inserted into their designated orbits without mutual interference. After each release, the launch vehicle is required to be reoriented while moving at over seven km per second. The success of this mission has not only clearly established ISRO’s credentials to claim its fair share of the huge commercial launch market but also its capability to undertake new challenges in space exploration, the most immediate being the Chandrayaan I, unmanned mission to the Moon scheduled during the later part of this year. The indigenously developed cryogenic engine will be tried out for the first time on this mission. The next big challenge will be a robotic landing on the moon planned for 2012 followed by manned space flight around the earth by 2015. There is also talk of landing a man on the moon but this may not be attempted before 2025. There are also plans

to send probes to Mars and the Sun. Tragically, ISRO is still not fully liberated from US sanctions, a factor that may impinge on the timeframe for the lunar probe. So far, ISRO has launched 16 satellites for international customers. This was the 12th successful mission by the PSLV that had launched multiple satellites twice before. This, therefore, was the third such mission. The Italian Agile and Israeli TecSar were launched with similar configuration. But perhaps the biggest challenge ahead for ISRO is to penetrate the heavy weight satellite launch market. To do this, ISRO would have to develop the capability to launch four- to six-tonne payloads, a significant increase from the present capability of two tonnes. The PSLV capability limits ISRO to a low yield commercial market with stiff competition from European Space Agency, China, Russia and Ukraine. The capability to launch heavy satellites will come through the GSLV Mk III for which it would be necessary to make a success of the indigenous 25-tonne cryogenic engine which is yet to be tested. ISRO is also well placed to exploit its reputation in satellite building expertise. Satellites have limited life and need periodic replacement. Life expired satellites are merely abandoned and continue in orbit. As the satellite launch business grows, so does the littering of space. Unfortunately, there is no convenient or cost-effective technology available to rid space of debris. NASA estimates indicate that in just over five decades of exploration, space is already polluted with tens of millions of particles, big and small moving at phenomenal speeds. Given the limitless nature of space, the threat may not appear potent at this point in time. However, in the future, space debris may pose serious threat to the survival of functional satellites. If the junk is allowed to pile up, in due course space exploration may well turnout to be a self limiting exercise. SP — Air Marshal (Retd) B.K. Pandey Issue 5 • 2008

SP’S AVIATION

9


NewsWithViews

WHISPERS OF DISCONTENT

Even though it has not officially collapsed, the stalled Indo-US nuclear deal has apparently begun doing collateral damage to the relationship between the two countries. In June 2008, Prime Minister Manmohan was due to get an ‘Air Force One’ of his own—a Boeing Business Jet equipped with a Rs 202-crore ($50.2 million) Special Protection Suite (SPS) to ward off attacks by shoulder-held heat-seeking missiles. But now, a month before the first of the three aircraft costing Rs 735 crore ($183.75 million) were scheduled to arrive, and three years after the deal was inked, the US has placed restrictions on the export of the system. This not only threatens to delay supply of the aircraft, but has the potential to call into question the entire deal if not other acquisitions from the US.

VIEWS

ILLUSTRATION: MAMTA

B

arely a month before the first of the three specially fitted Boeing Business Jets (BBJ) is to join the Indian Air Force’s VIP Communication Squadron—responsible for ferrying the nation’s highest dignitaries, including the Prime Minister—the above media report must have come as a rude shock to the mandarins of both the External Affairs and Defence wings of the South Block. Notwithstanding that a similar report also appeared in the Pakistani press, albeit a day later, one can’t help wondering at the veracity of the report. In any case, linking the issue to the seemingly failing Indo-US nuclear deal appears to be carrying the rhetoric a bit too far. Inked in 2005, the BBJ deal is purely a commercial contract. Coincidentally—contrary to premeditated, as some would like to speculate—the Indo-US agreement on cooperation in India’s civilian nuclear programme was also signed in the same year, on July 17. The BBJ order was for three specially equipped Boeing 737-800 complete with an airborne office incorporating stateof-the-art amenities, personal communication lines, a personal bed room and an executive office akin to the facilities provided in the US Air Force One that flies the President of the United States of America. Decision to include the SPS appears to have been taken subsequently but it is clear that its inclusion was agreed to by the US as the Boeing company reportedly charged, over and above the systems and fitment costs, an additional sum of money for having to dismantle and remodel some of the interiors to install the SPS system. At this stage it is not very clear as to which SPS system is being installed on the IAF contracted BBJs. But if the IAF has opted for state-of-the-art equipment, then in all probability it would be Northrop Grumman’s latest Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures (LAIRCM) system. The primary threat to large passenger aircraft is from what are called man-portable heat-seeking missile systems, of which there are hun10

SP’S AVIATION

Issue 5 • 2008

dreds of thousands floating around among insurgent and militant groups. Specially equipped to protect large aircraft from such man-portable missiles, the LAIRCM system is designed to increase crew-warning time, decrease false alarm rates and automatically counter advanced IR missile systems. The missile warning system uses multiple sensors to provide full spatial coverage. The counter-measures subsystems use lasers mounted in pointer-tracker turret assemblies. LAIRCM is an active countermeasure that defeats the threat missile guidance system by directing a high-intensity modulated laser beam into the missile seeker. In addition, the LAIRCM system automatically counters advanced IR missile systems with no action required from the crew. The pilot is simply informed that a threat missile was detected and jammed. In the US, the LAIRCM programme is aimed not only to protect the VIP/VVIP aircraft but, in a greater measure, to provide protection to large military aircraft such as the C-17s and C130Js of the Special Forces Command which have to routinely operate in missile-infested hostile environment. In fact, the six C-130Js, being supplied by Lockheed Martin to the IAF for Special Forces Operations, are also supposed to be equipped with similar self-protection suites. Aircraft supplied for the heads of states such as Australia, Argentina, Malaysia and Morocco, to name a few, also reportedly enjoy similar protection. Should there be any truth in the media reports, it would have highly adverse repercussions on the US as a reliable and dependable supplier of high-tech equipment to India. Also such a move on the part of the US would not only put in jeopardy the much bigger $10 billion-plus MMRCA deal for which the US companies appear to be among the frontrunners but also put to question the very sanctity of the ‘Strategic Partnership’ both countries are so assiduously building upon. SP — Air Marshal (Retd) V.K. Bhatia


InFocus

MMRCA DEAL

Responses POUR in

PHOTOGRAPHS: SP GUIDE PUBNS

I

f India’s exhaustive Request for Proposal (RFP) running across more than 200 pages drew appreciation as one of the most comprehensive documents ever received by the global military aviation industry, the subsequent responses prepared individually by the contending vendors for India’s Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) deal perhaps deserve even greater kudos for painstaking meticulousness. Leading the pack, the Boeing Company delivered a massive 7,000-page proposal to the Indian Air Force (IAF) on April 28, followed closely by the others determined to meet the new deadline of April 28. The six potential vendors in the fray include two US companies, namely, Boeing and Lockheed Martin, the French Dassault, the Eurofighter Consortium, the Swedish Saab and the MiG MAPO from Russia. Offering the advanced F/A-18E/F Super Hornet to the IAF, the Boeing’s proposal team had done its homework well in meeting the initial deadline of March 3. That, however, got extended to April 28 at the request of some of the other contenders. “We are offering India the best-value, most advanced and proven multi-role combat fighter in production today,” said Jim Albaugh, President and CEO, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems. “Boeing’s strategic goal has been to seek a longterm partnership with India to help strengthen the country’s aerospace capabilities and enhance its national security,” said Chris Chadwick, President of Boeing Precision Engagement & Mobility Systems, adding, “Choosing the F/A-18E/F would give Indians a direct hand in building advanced fighter aircraft that will robustly defend their shores and airspace, infuse new strength into the Indian Air Force, and serve as a catalyst for India’s growing defence aerospace industry.” Evidently, Boeing is aggressively marketing its product. By reaching out to Indian aerospace and technology sectors over the past three years through long-term partnership agreements with HAL, Tata Industries and Larson & Toubro, Boeing is showing seriousness in meeting its offset commitments. The Super Hornet variant being offered to India—the F/A-18IN—is based on the F/A-18E/F model flown by the US Navy and currently being built for the Royal Australian Air Force. The aircraft is equipped with Raytheon’s APG-79 AESA radar and other high-tech systems. The second US jet fighter in the reckoning is from another military aviation giant, Lockheed Martin, which has responded to the RFP by proposing the most technologically advanced model of the F-16 Fighting Falcon and which, it claims, will be uniquely tailored to meet or exceed the requirements of the IAF. According to company sources, the F-16IN has been especially designed to include a multitude of cutting-edge technologies such as a modern, full colour, all-digital glass cockpit; the APG-80 AESA radar; the GE F110-132A engine for increased thrust; a large weapons inventory; a highly effective EW suite; and conformal fuel tanks to significantly extend range and endurance. The aircraft also includes advanced survivability features such as superior agility, excellent pilot situational awareness and critical systems redundancy. The F-16IN is stated to provide outstanding front-line capability, unprecedented reliability and extremely low life-cycle costs. Further, the F-16IN is claimed to be an advanced derivative of the most combat proven multi-role strike fighter available in the international marketplace today with 24 countries having selected the F-16 as their fighter aircraft of choice. Seeking to gain an edge, the European Consortium producing the Eurofighter Typhoon has gone one step ahead in its sales pitch by inviting India to join the Eurofighter programme as a new partner. Addressing a combined conference of government officials and the media, Bernhard Gerwert, CEO Military Air Systems, EADS Defence & Security, said, “As part of our industrial cooperation offer, we invite India to become a member of the successful Eurofighter family. We are interested in long-lasting

With all the six contenders having submitted their responses to the RFP for India’s MMRCA deal, the race enters the next stage of technical and commercial evaluation

Issue 5 • 2008

SP’S AVIATION

11


INFOCUS MMRCA DEAL

PHOTOGRAPHS: INTERCORP

UNITED WE RACE: US MAJORS LOCKHEED MARTIN AND BOEING HAVE GRABBED THE SPOTLIGHT. SEEN HERE ARE REPRESENTATIVES FROM THE TWO COMPANIES, INCLUDING MIKE KELLEY (2ND FROM LEFT) OF LOCKHEED MARTIN AND DR VIVEK LALL OF BOEING IDS (RIGHT), WITH THEIR RESPECTIVE RESPONSE BOXES IN FRONT OF THE US EMBASSY.

political, industrial and military relations which will be based on a win-win partnership. Therefore, the door is wide open for India.” Eurofighter is not one nation or one company but a quadrinational programme with four leading aerospace companies—EADS (Germany), EADS Casa (Spain), BAE Systems (UK) and Alenia Finmeccanica (Italy). Together they have joined forces to support the Eurofighter campaign in India. Fully operational in four countries and with more than 700 orders from six customers which, in addition to the aforementioned four key players, include Austria and Saudi Arabia, the Eurofighter Typhoon is emerging as the true swing-role fighter aircraft capable of doing both air-to-air and air-to-ground roles either singly or simultaneously in the same sortie. Combining advanced technology with worldclass performance, the Typhoon is stated to provide highest levels of mission effectiveness for all scenarios and a broad range of mission flexibility with its capability to carry a large mix of air combat and strike weapons, EW equipment and external fuel tanks. Remarkable agility and heightened pilot awareness are other hallmarks of the aircraft which, protagonists insist, allow the Eurofighter Typhoon to meet the challenges of fast-changing operational scenarios. April 28 also saw the Swedish Saab, maker of the Gripen, handing over its response to India’s Ministry of Defence through its Gripen International Business Unit. Christened Gripen IN, the proffered fighter aircraft is based on the Saab’s newly launched Gripen NG (Next Generation)—an enhanced version of the well proven Net Centric Warfare Gripen multirole fighter which, according to the company, has unbeatable low acquisition, operational and product support costs. Gripen has been described as the first of the new generation, true multi-role combat aircraft to enter service. Using the latest available technology, it is capable of performing an extensive range of air-to-air and air-to-surface operational missions and employing the latest weapons. A typical multi-role mission 12

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profile could consist of 2X Python CCMs and 4XDerby BVR air-to-air missiles, 4XGBU-12 LGBs with a Laser Designator Pod and 2X300 US gallon fuel drop tanks. The aircraft can also be optionally fitted with an in-flight refueling probe to extend range. Gripen is designed to meet the demands of current and future threats, while at the same time meeting strict requirements of flight safety, reliability, training efficiency and low operating costs. Company officials are very vocal in promoting their offer as the “complete solution” to meet the IAF’s present and future needs, guaranteeing access to not only all future upgrades, but full transfer of technology to enable meaningful indigenous endeavours as well. While the makers of the French Rafale and the Russian MiG-35 have not been very vocal in public, it is known that the two have also met the deadline and submitted their responses. Both aircraft are serious competitors for the IAF’s 126 MMRCA programme with their supplier countries France and Russia having had historical and time-tested links as far as supply of jet fighters to India is concerned. The French were one of the first to equip the IAF with Ouragon (Toofani) and Mystere 1V jet fighters in the 1950s. Later, in the 1980s, the IAF received the Mirage 2000 aircraft from France which proved to be highly successful in the 1999 Kargil conflict and, continue to be the proud possession of the IAF. Russia, on the other hand, continues to be one of the major suppliers of arms to India with the IAF having received numerous jet fighters from it such as the MiG-21s, Su-7s, MiG-23s, MiG-25s, MiG27s and MiG-29s. The remarkable Su-30 MKI is the latest Russian combat aircraft to be inducted into the IAF in an ongoing programme for 230 aircraft both through directs sales and indigenous production by HAL in India. With all the six contenders having submitted their responses to the RFP for India’s MMRCA deal, the race enters the next stage of technical and commercial evaluation. A mammoth and arduous task, it is hoped that the concerned departments of the Government, specially the IAF, are fully geared to complete this phase of the deal without getting into time overruns. The IAF is already in a tight spot vis-à-vis the dwindling strength of its combat aircraft. It must, therefore, move on a war-footing to regain its depleting combat potential. SP (For responses to SP’s Q&A from Boeing, EADS and Lockheed Martin, turn to page 14) — Air Marshal (Retd) V.K. Bhatia


Forum

MMRCA DEAL

DEBILITATING PACE A

The government would have to ensure smooth and time-efficient selection process for the MMRCA project if it wants to stop further bleeding of the IAF’s‘Op Potential’

S THE CLOCK TURNS, IT IS NEARLY SEVEN AND A HALF YEARS since the Indian Air Force (IAF) submitted its urgent requirement in January 2001 for 126 (six squadrons worth) medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) to replace its obsolete and ageing aircraft. In the highly complex sequence of mandates that define the process for acquisition of defence equipment in India, it took as many as three years for the proposal to be accepted in principle by the government prior to executing the first step of issuing a Request for Information. Many turns and twists later, including issuance of a voluminous document on Defence Procurement Procedure (which itself has undergone a revision in 2006 and is in the process of being revised again), the Request for Proposal (RFP) was finally issued in August last year to six contenders with the floating of a global tender. The initial deadline of six months had to be extended further to enable all the six competing aviation companies to cover all aspects including the contract’s massive 50 per cent offset clauses. Good news is all the six contenders met the revised deadline in submitting individual responses by April 28. Bad news would be the hint of any credence to rumours of certain anomalies that might force a redo of the RFP exercise. Any major, or even minor, modification of the proposal at this stage could involve considerable reworking, triggering a fresh round of dithering and delays. Worse, should there be a change of government at the Centre in the aftermath of the general elections scheduled less than a year from now, the entire procedure could hit a bottleneck once again. While a review in such cases may be a justifiable prerogative of the elected government, equally must be its responsibility to be sensitive to the urgent and time-bound requirements of national security. As it is, there still are a number of stages to be gone through before awarding the contract to a particular vendor. To start with, all six responses to the RFP would have to be thoroughly studied and evaluated, both technically and on commercial grounds. The first part of the exercise would have to be spearheaded by the Deputy Chief of the Air Staff branch at Air HQ and, going by the information revealed by sources, this exercise has already commenced with the requisite gusto. But, irrespective of the amount of midnight oil burned, fact is such a complex exercise could easily take up to six months to get completed. Also, unlike normal circumstances wherein the lowest bidder would have the best

chance of clinching the contract, this is by far a more elaborate exercise involving comparison of a wide range of performance parameters of aircraft and other aspects of the quotations such as Life Cycle Costs and Transfer of Technology. All aircraft that measure up to the stipulated qualitative requirements (which would probably include all six competitors) would be put through flight trials—a time intensive process as the complete range of performance parameters have to be verified and compared by specialised crews. The process itself could take up to two years to complete, which would then be followed by price negotiations with the company offering the lowest price provided the aircraft is otherwise acceptable. It is anticipated that if all goes as per the plan, the contract could be signed after the selected aircraft is approved by the government sometime in 2011-2012. Thereafter, applying a lead-time of 36 months, arrival of the first batch of aircraft could be expected in the period between 2014 and 2015, a good six to seven years from now. However, even this timeframe would only be honoured if all related decisions are taken on time—an exceptionally rare proposition where India is concerned. Among the key factors that retard decision making are menacing oversight and deep scrutiny by the Central Vigilance Commission, acute ‘scam’ scare among the bureaucracy, intrusive media, Tehelka type sting operations and the recently introduced Rights to Information Act. Individuals responsible for processing the defence acquisition cases are naturally averse to taking quick decisions lest they are subsequently charged with undue haste or misdemeanour of any kind. Delhi had earlier announced that the MMRCA competition would be fair, just and transparent. It is hoped that the above would be adhered to and that, it would also lead to timely decision making in the selection process. The IAF already stands depleted by more than a quarter of its original strength to less than 30 combat squadrons. While a few more squadrons are being re-equipped with Su-30 MKI aircraft, these cannot compensate for the number of squadrons which are being number-plated due to obsolescence. The government would have to ensure smooth and time-efficient selection process for the MMRCA project if it wants to stop further bleeding of the IAF’s ‘Op Potential’. SP — Air Marshal (Retd) V.K. Bhatia Issue 5 • 2008

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Q&A

MMRCA DEAL

BALANCINGAct A cautious mix of optimism and pragmatism emerged in a quickfire round SP’s directed at the contestants in the race for the MMRCA deal. Of the six frontrunners,three were forthcoming with their views.

BOEING IDS response—

for exceptional air-to-ground performance, What kind of offset arrangement(s) What would you say are your chances as well as a Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing are you working on, especially considof clinching India’s MMRCA deal? System (JHMCS) for enhanced aircrew ering the voluminous size of the deal? We believe Boeing’s F/A-18E/F Super situational awareness and combat lethalWhat are the challenges pertaining to Hornet provides state-of-the-art 21st ity. A very large part of the Super Hornet’s direct and indirect offsets you foresee Century warfighting capability and is an appeal is affordability, both unit flyaway and are preparing to address? extremely good value proposition to the and life cycle. In fact, the Super Hornet is We have made a great start in identifyIndian Air Force because of its overall life a fighter that won’t see a scheduled visit to ing some of the industrial partners we cycle cost. Unlike some of our competia maintenance depot until it has clocked hope to be working with in India down tors, whose offerings are being phased a minimum of 6,000 hours of flying time the road. In December, IDS CEO and out elsewhere as customers move on to and likely much longer. President Jim Albaugh signed a 10-year more modern capability, the Super Hornet If you bag the contract, what will be memorandum of understanding with will be around for decades to come with the timeframe for delivery of the first Hindustan Aeronautics Limited intended continued investment to ensure robust aircraft? to bring more than $1 billion (Rs 4,253 supportability and capability. The first 18 aircraft will be delivered to crore) worth of new aerospace manuWhat, according to you, are the disthe Indian Air Force in fly-away condition facturing work to India. In February, the tinct advantages inherent in your profrom our plant in St. Louis, with the first Boeing Company and Tata Industries posal vis-à-vis the other contenders? plane delivered within 36 months after agreed on a plan to form a joint-venture We believe the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet contract signing. The remaining 108 aircompany that will initially include more will give India the most advanced see-all, craft will be assembled in India, and the than $500 million (Rs 2,126 crore) of do-all combat fighter in production today, first of these would fly 54 months after defence-related aerospace component capable of defending the nation from contract signing. All 126 aircraft would work in India for export to Boeing and the Himalayas to the Indian Ocean with be delivered to the Indian Air Force by its international customers. As to the unmatched lethality, pilot safety, and the 2020, and would benefit from continual offset challenges you alluded to, while we promise of 30+ years of continual US US Navy-funded technology insertions acknowledge the complexities and chalNavy-funded upgrades. This is a fighter over that time period, as well as Indian lenges of India’s offset requirements, Boethat has been proven in combat. The F/AAir Force upgrades if desired. ing is enthusiastic and is putting together 18 has a hot production line, which means How broad is the technology platform a programme that will meet or exceed India can start replenishing its depleted offered by you in terms of its applicaexpectations. Boeing views the MMRCA squadron strength quickly. The Super bility and contemporaneousness for the offset requirement as a mechanism to Hornet boasts the latest generation of US upcoming good many number of years? establish long-term, mutually beneficial manufacturing and military technology. The F/A-18E/F was designed with partnerships with Indian Industry. For example, Raytheon’s APG-79 active built-in growth for tomorrow’s capability What kind of partnership(s) do you electronically scanned array (AESA) radar insertion. In fact, the Super Hornet will propose to offer to the end user, is one of the Super Hornet’s critical key have the same or greater capability than namely, the Indian Air Force, and discriminators. AESA expands the Super the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter until at other related agencies/companies? Hornet’s lethality to beyond the range of least the end of the next decade, and will Choosing the F/A-18 Super Hornet will weapons or platforms that might be a serve alongside it in the US Navy front accomplish a multitude of objectives threat against it. The AESA, and other adranks beyond 2030. for India. Our advanced products will vanced technologies that are operacontribute substantially to India’s tional on the Super Hornet today do defence as this nation assumes a “BOEING’S SUPER HORNET WILL BE AROUND not exist on some of our competitor’s greater role regionally and around FOR DECADES TO COME.” offerings, and are simply long-term the world. The selection of our —CHRIS CHADWICK, and costly developmental promises. defence products will enhance and President, Boeing Precision Engagement & Mobility The F/A-18I also boasts an advanced deepen a burgeoning partnership Systems targeting pod—the Litening AT that will enhance global opportunipod—built by Northrop Grumman, ties for Indian industry. SP

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Q&A

MMRCA DEAL

EUROFIGHTER response—

What would you say are your chances of clinching India’s MMRCA deal? We are convinced that we have an excellent combat aircraft which is a proven weapon system and respected worldwide by the air forces and their pilots. The Eurofighter Typhoon is fully operational in four countries and with more than 700 orders from six customers (Germany, UK, Spain, Italy, Austria, Saudi Arabia), we can offer a mature and stable combat aircraft programme to the Indian Air Force. What, according to you, are the distinct advantages inherent in your proposal vis-à-vis the other contenders? The most important advantages of the Eurofighter bid proposal is the fact that our proposal is fully supported by four nations and four leading aerospace companies in Europe, such as EADS in Germany and Spain, Finmeccanica in Italy and BAE Systems in the United Kingdom. We have submitted a robust and winning proposal which will fulfill India’s current and future operational requirements.

LOCKHEED MARTIN response—

What would you say are your chances of clinching India’s MMRCA deal? We are confident our proposal for the F-16IN meets or exceeds India’s MMRCA requirements for the Indian Air Force. What, according to you, are the distinct advantages inherent in your proposal vis-à-vis the other contenders? No other operational multi-role fighter in the world today compares to this aircraft. The F-16IN is a unique configuration of the F-16, designed to address the requirements specified in India’s RFP. The F-16 is the most reliable, maintainable, affordable and safest multi-role fighter in the world and the F-16IN will be even better. This proposal also represents a long-term partnership between the Air Forces of India and the US and between Indian industry and the F-16 industry team. If you bag the contract, what will be the timeframe for delivery of the first aircraft? The timeframe for the delivery of the first

“THE F-16 PROGRAMME IS KNOWN FOR ITS FLEXIBILITY.” —ORVILLE PRINS, Vice President, Business Development, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics

If you bag the contract, what will be the timeframe for delivery of the first aircraft? We will deliver the first Eurofighter Typhoon when the customer requires it. According to the RFP, it is mandatory that the first 18 aircraft come in a “fly away” condition and are to be delivered from the selected manufacturer. What kind of offset arrangement(s) are you working on, especially considering the voluminous size of the deal? What are the challenges pertaining to direct and indirect offsets you foresee and are preparing to address? Of course, the requirement of 50 per cent offset is a challenge. However, we are fully committed that we will submit a very attractive offset proposal until August 2008. Eurofighter Typhoon is a true four nations’ programme, with four leading European aerospace and defence companies plus an enormous supplier base involved. Therefore, our offset offer will leverage the strength of the whole Eurofighter consortium together with other strong aerospace and

defence companies in Europe. This will give India the access to a very interesting international sourcing network of unparalleled scope. What kind of partnership(s) do you propose to offer to the end user, namely, the Indian Air Force, and other related agencies/companies? First of all, we regard India not only as a market but most importantly as a partner for joint industrial and military projects. Therefore, we invited India to join the Eurofighter programme because we would like India to become a member of the successful Eurofighter family. Basically, we are interested in long-lasting political, industrial and military partnerships and therefore the door for cooperation is widely open for India. SP

aircraft would be 36 months from the date the contract is signed. How broad is the technology platform offered by you in terms of its applicability and contemporaneousness for the upcoming good many number of years? The F-16IN has been especially designed to include a multitude of cutting-edge technologies such as a, full-colour, alldigital, glass cockpit; the APG-80 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar; the GE F110-132A engine for increased, thrust; a large weapons inventory; a highly effective electronic warfare suite; and Conformal Fuel Tanks (CFTs) to significantly extend range and persistence. The aircraft also includes advanced survivability features such as superior agility, excellent pilot situational awareness, and critical systems redundancy. The F-16IN is designed to provide outstanding front-line capability, unprecedented reliability, and an extremely low total cost of ownership. What kind of offset arrangement(s) are you working on, especially considering the voluminous size of the deal? What are the challenges pertaining to direct and indirect offsets you foresee and are preparing to address? The F-16 programme has a long history of successful industrial participation, including delivery of aircraft from assem-

bly lines in five countries. We know how to make industrial participation work and we are prepared to be responsive to meet the goals of the government and industry of India. The F-16 programme is known for its flexibility to meet a wide variety of customer requirements and national goals, including technology transfer. We know that Indian aircraft production will be a firm requirement. We want to forge good, long-term strategic partnerships in India that allow companies with whom we become associated, to develop highquality, long-term employment for India’s work force on existing programmes that will be of interest to the US government and other governments around the world. What kind of partnership(s) do you propose to offer to the end user, namely, the Indian Air Force, and other related agencies/companies? Lockheed Martin has established four F-16 production lines outside of the US. Additionally, the company has successfully achieved more than $37 billion (Rs 1,57,444 crore) in offset programme credits in 40 countries. A proven cornerstone of these programmes is the ability to provide technology transfer to partners. The F-16IN proposal assures that 108 of the 126 F-16IN aircraft would be delivered from HAL under licensed production with Indian industry. SP

“WE WOULD LIKE INDIA TO BECOME A MEMBER OF THE EUROFIGHTER FAMILY.” —BERNHARD GERWERT, CEO, Military Air Systems, EADS Defence & Security

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BUSINESS AVIATION

C O V E R

S T O R Y

CIVIL

EliteClass Introducing the

PHOTOGRAPH: CESSNA

By Group Captain A.K. Sachdev, Bangalore

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India is home to 53 billionaires and 1,00,000 millionaires.The high spending power has engineered a shift away from just owning a business aircraft to having a custom built one—with personalised colour schemes and embellishments.


A PHOTOGRAPH: CESSANA

CIVIL BUSINESS AVIATION WAY FROM THE AIRBUS AND BOEING bout to secure the largest chunk of the market for commercial jets, the business aviation customer is ploughing through his own bill of fare. And it is a lavish spread. Very Light Jets (VLJs) were hailed a couple of months ago as the SUVs of the skies. Small, relatively less expensive jets (like the Cessna Mustang) are being labeled as the Model Ts that fly. These and other new business jets are displaying an eager and impatient yearning for transforming the paradigm of business aviation. The new technology business jets, small in size, and quick to turn round, represent comparatively inexpensive options for private aviation. The comparison to sports cars is not just on account of sleek looks and speed, there is also the subliminal linkage which renders business jets objects of desire, symbols of status and something you must have if the Jones’s possess one. That these represent a convenient and controllable means of travel between places is an important but not the most significant reason for procuring a business jet. The shrinking gap between affordability of a business jet and the purchasing power of a large number of business houses and businessmen is the scenesetter for a boom in business aviation. While airlines are going bankrupt worldwide (six during the last two months) and mergers are taking place between others (Delta and Northwest, for one), the market for corporate aircraft is having a comparatively prosperous spell.

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Needless to say, the central cause is the attractive costs at which new business jets are available. A VLJ is around $1.5 million (Rs 6.4 crore) to $3 million (Rs 13 crore). These prices are lower than those of most business jets flying around at the beginning of 2007; so is their cost of running—less by as much as 30 per cent according to one estimate. No surprise then that the world wide sale of business jets for 2007 stood at more than 1,000 and the sales over REDEFINING COMFORT: the next 10 years are expected INDIAN ENTREPRENEURS to average 1,400 per year. PERPETUALLY ON THE MOVE ARE READY TO At the recently concluded SHELL OUT THE PRICE European Business Aviation FOR HIGH COMFORT AND Convention & Exhibition, ULTIMATE SPEED. SEEN HERE IS THE INTERIOR OF Bombardier announced its THE CESSNA XLS+ THAT market forecast. Expressing FEATURES ON PAGE 16. optimism about increasing delivery numbers through the next decade, the Canadian company has predicted growth in non-US markets would drive the business jet deliveries to 1,320 annually between 2008 and 2017, compared with the industry average of 620 in the period from 1998 to 2007. (For full report


PHOTOGRAPHS ON PG 18, 20: CESSNA

CIVIL BUSINESS AVIATION on EBACE, turn to page 32.) aviation fuel prices spiraled up due to the unprecedented rise One important reason for the busi- in crude oil prices. It is possible that aircraft manufacturers ness jet prices becoming attractive is may start thinking of fuel efficient turbo-prop options for the fact that the aviation world gener- business aircraft in the near future. While the economics (of a ally uses the US dollar as the functional cheap turbo-prop aircraft) and common sense would indicate currency; the steady fall of the dollar that option as being better than a jet, the slower speeds and has meant that business houses raklimited ranges of turbo-prop ing in earnings in currencies other aircraft (in comparison to busithan US dollars find the price tags ness jets) would perhaps hold The comparison to on these business jets eye catching. back a boom in turbo-prop sports cars is not There is a problem about these jets business aircraft demand. just on account not being fitted with Traffic ColliIn India, the tax rate of 22 of sleek looks and sion Avoidance Systems (TCAS), and per cent on aircraft imports is speed, there is also therefore about their full exploitaquite high, but not high enough tion (an aircraft without TCAS on to prevent business houses the subliminal board may not fly above 29,000 ft from queuing up for permission linkage which like one with TCAS can). However, to import aircraft; the Business renders business even flights at 29,000 ft and below Aviation Association of India is jets are worthy of corporate interest. reported to have estimated the Another reason for the boom is annual growth in the numbers , symbols the globalisation which has brought of business aircraft in India to of status and down trade and psychological barbe 30 to 40 per cent over the something you must coming years. This boom is riers and permitted market forces have if the Jones’s to work their way to a broader essentially related to the soarcustomer base for the business jet. ing of the Indian economy and possess one While 2007 saw the VLJ assaulting the resultant increase in the the business aircraft market, that number of High Net-worth Inyear was also the one during which dividuals and business houses

objects of desire

It’s as if we read the minds of India’s business leaders. In many ways, we did. Some Citation business jets are so perfectly suited to doing business in India, it’s as if they were created specifically for that purpose. Here’s why: Every Citation is based on what customers tell us they need. Those customers come from all over the world, but they all have three things in common: They are poised on the brink of a major breakthrough in the growth of their business. They are seeing opportunities like never before. And they are looking for the undeniably best way to seize them. Their answer can be your answer – the best-selling business jets and propeller aircraft in the world. For a free, no-obligation analysis of what a Citation business jet can do for your company call Mike McGreevy at 971.4.295.4822 or visit Citation.Cessna.com.

Cessna Aircraft Sure Thing®

Issue 5 • 2008

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PHOTOGRAPHS: AIRLINERS.NET

CIVIL BUSINESS AVIATION

that can afford to purchase and maintain business aircraft. According to one estimate, there are 53 billionaires in India. There are also 1,00,000 millionaires in India and the number is growing at around 20 per cent per annum; even if there is a slow down in the rate of economic growth—as is being feared—the numbers are impressive. The high spending power means that there is a shift away from just owning a business aircraft to having a custom built one—with personalised colour schemes and embellishments. With NetJets and BJETS trying to get a foothold in the Indian market, more choices can be expected to become available to the private aviation customer. NetJets is starting off by offering Indian customers fractional ownership in its ongoing European and American programmes; simultaneously it is testing the waters to formulate a business model better suited to Indian conditions. BJETS is also planning to start a fractional ownership model in India which will include an option of a prepaid charter block of 25 hours. Tatas have picked up a stake in the company With and which has already ordered 40 aircraft trying to (20 Cessna Citation get a foothold in the CJ2+ and 20 Hawker Indian market, more 850XPs and 900XPs) choices can be and is investing around $600 million expected (Rs 2,558 crore) to make its presence felt in India which it feels is a great place to be in at the moment. Existing fractional ownership models also continue to evolve. However, an interesting development is the chartering out of privately owned business aircraft by individuals and business houses to utilise overspill of aircraft availability beyond own use. While this financially wise practice was being followed by some business houses in some form or the other in the recent years, an international company, Zurichbased ExecuJet Aviation, is planning to introduce a business aircraft acquisition scheme called ‘Simpli Fly’ in India. Under this model, ExecuJet plans to acquire aircraft for interested business houses, maintain them at a fixed monthly fee and if the business house wishes, it could charter it out to a third party, when not in use, to offset the cost of maintenance. An Indian company, Bird Group, has similar plans with the advertised objective of reducing the net cost for the company (or individual) which owns an aircraft to be brought down to almost zero. In another model, Bird Group plans to get a business house or individual to commit to a fixed number of hours its aircraft will be available per month for charter purposes (after meeting the needs of the business house/individual).

NetJets BJETS

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IN AUGUST COMPANY: AIRBUS A319 AND BOMBARDIER’S GLOBAL EXPRESS FLAUNTS THE COLOURS OF RELIANCE INDUSTRIES WHILE FALCON 2000 (CENTRE) SPORTS THE LIVERY OF TATA STEEL. NAVIN JINDAL OWNED JINDAL INDUSTRIES IS A RECENT ADDITION IN THE ORDER BOOKS OF THE FALCON FAMILY.

Bird Group is planning to acquire 12 aircraft during the coming one year period and has signed an agreement with Regourd Aviation, a global professional aircraft dealer and broker specialising in the sale of business airplanes and helicopters. Thus there is a choice available to the Indian customer in terms of several business models that he could use business aircraft in. As the customer base broadens and as the collective customer spending power increases, market players are smartly reacting to the dynamic and flexible requirements of the business aviation requirements. Coming to numbers, around 30 business jets were delivered in 2007 in India and another 45 are expected to be delivered in 2008. At the Singapore Air Show, Tata’s BJETS ordered 50 aircraft and Club One Air ordered 10. At the recently concluded Extravaganza event, Infovision ordered 20 Phenoms. Meanwhile, Aerion which is developing super sonic business jets (SSBJs) is reported to have bagged orders from five customers in India and the deliveries are reported to start during the end of 2014. The company asserts that India is a promising market especially for long range business jets because of expanding global business relationships. Although the names of the customers are not clearly known, the company plans to open a sales office in India by the end of 2008 as it expects to do more business in the coming years. The price tag an SSBJ is expected to wear is $80 million (Rs 341 crore), but the advantage is huge—a Mumbai-Singapore trip would be cut down to three hours (current airliners and business jets take around five hours to cover the distance). Currently, the charter aviation market in India has around 30 operators and the market is dynamic in its response to perceived business customer needs; one illustration is the plans Club One Air has of launching a Low Cost Charter service as an option for the low end business traveler who does not mind not being served hot food and coffee in flight but wants to get to his business destination fast. At the other end of the spectrum is the “fully loaded” business jet with on board conference facilities; the recent clearance for in flight mobile services (not yet in India but expected soon) and, by extension of the analogy, for in flight internet services, will enable this type of business travel. So the day is not far off when business travelers can have a conference on board a business aircraft while traveling on to another city to attend another conference—all the while being in touch with their respective offices and staff. What Internet did to out-of-office work, the new class of business jets will do for in-flight work. Small wonder then, that business aviation is an ascendant market. It would be propitious for everyone related to the aviation industry to pray that fuel prices do not play spoilsport. SP


OnA Roll,

P

ARDON THE EXPRESSION, but there’s no denying that Indians are taking to flying like ducks to water. In recent years, the number of passengers has grown by over 30 per cent and it is safe to predict that this rate will be maintained or even exceeded over the next few years. A wide choice of airlines and attractive offers to “fly at Re 1”, where taxes are consigned to the fine print, are persuading more and more people to take to the skies. And how is the business aviation segment faring? Ironically, the surge in passenger flights is driving business aviation as well. Many passengers are put off by the congestion experienced at airport lounges and the cascading delays especially in winter. It is a sad fact that air travel is not the luxury experience it was even a decade or two ago. While cut-rate passengers and the middle-class have no choice but to grin and bear it, sheer inconvenience is forcing many busy executives to grasp more convenient alternatives. Deregulation of business aviation, easy availability of ‘splurge money’ in the rapidly-growing Indian economy and more liberal regulations governing foreign investment are persuading many businesses to take the plunge and acquire their own private taxis in the sky. The global ambitions of Indian companies are also driving demand like never before. There were less than 40 private aircraft in India in 2005. Today the figure has crossed 200. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation reportedly has another 200 applications pending for private aircraft registration. More and more manufacturers see India as one of the strongest markets for business aircraft in the Asia-Pacific region. India is potentially bigger than China as it already has twice the number of billionaires. This segment is projected to

block-charter arrangements usually are the most attractive. Above that, fractional ownership becomes the option of choice. Fractional ownership is similar to the familiar timesharing plans that many tourist resorts offer. An aircraft needs to operate at least 800 hours per year in order to make a profit. With some luck, a fiveyear fractional ownership deal on a business jet for as little

UPHILL

Despite the excellent outlook for Indian business aviation, it faces daunting challenges.The problems are likely to get worse before they get better. Once the bottlenecks are removed, the sector can only soar. By Group Captain Joseph Noronha, Goa

grow at around 30-40 per cent annually. Business aviation clients are of various types. There are executives who prefer to fly privately on business considering the time saved, the increased productivity and the comfort well worth the extra cost. There are High-Net-WorthIndividuals who opt for private air travel rather than risk the hold-ups and hassles that have become endemic to scheduled airlines. Then there are groups such as athletic teams, entertainers with their supporting entourage, event management groups and politicians on a campaign trail. Business aviation is no longer a luxury but a necessity. With greater transparency and unfettered competition, prices generally come down. Though they may never equal what scheduled services can offer there is a clear trend towards more efficient business aviation and reduction of costs. In addition, over the past decade or so, flexible ways to charter or own aircraft have made this option affordable to more companies and individuals than ever before. Some of these methods are slowly arriving in India as operators woo customers to sign on the dotted line. They include block charters, jet cards, fractional ownership and negotiation of discounts on whole-aircraft charters for payment made upfront rather than on credit. For customers who foresee a requirement of 100 hours or less of flying per year,

as 50 hours’ usage per year would probably be economically viable. That represents a one-sixteenth share, the smallest share one can buy on a business plane. Fractional shares on helicopters can be just one-thirty-second of the aircraft’s time, since helicopters generally fly much shorter distances and do not operate as many hours. India has a potential 2,000 fractional owners, according to some estimates. Bombardier has a convenient jet card system in its charter operation business, Skyjet, which permits clients to use a business jet for as little as 25 hours and also offers ‘on-demand charter’ for clients who have only small or irregular requirements. Online booking and assured availability make it a much sought-after service in America and Europe. It will soon be offered across the world. Pre-owned aircraft are another option and are hot favourites in this country. With at least 300 planes and helicopters expected to be bought in the next five years there is a significantly large market for second-hand aircraft. A pre-owned aircraft costs around half the price of a new aircraft but can be chartered at almost the same price. Thus the breakeven point comes much sooner. There are those who prefer their own aircraft. The Ambani brothers, Lakshmi Mittal, Vijay Mallya and Ratan Tata among others already own one or more jets. The prestige that goes with a private jet obviously far outweighs a Mercedes or Issue 5 • 2008

SP’S AVIATION

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PHOTOGRAPH:GULFSTREAM

CIVIL BUSINESS AVIATION


CIVIL BUSINESS AVIATION

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Issue 5 • 2008

STOP PRESS Vijay Mallya is reportedly in talks with EADS Socata to co-develop business jets

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r Vijay Mallya’s UB Group has initiated talks with France-based EADS Socata, a leading aircraft manufacturer, to invest around $200 million (Rs 847 crore) to co-develop business jets for which India has now emerged as a hot market. India has 179 aircraft registered for private, corporate and charter purposes, which include business jets, turboprops and helicopters. Confirming the on-going talks with the UB Group and other Indian companies, EADS Socata spokesperson Phillipe de Segovia said, “We want to look at a global organisation that has service centres in place with tools to market in the country.”

charter flights, executives are back to square one by having to go through the same time-consuming formalities as general passengers. The same goes for aircraft movement procedures, some of which were made more than half a century ago. For instance, it takes about a week for foreign-registered aircraft coming into India to get clearance. • Growth depends a great deal on the price of aviation fuel. Despite the problems, business aviation is expected to keep growing at a tidy clip for years. While corporate transport will become a key issue for large business groups in an international growing market, the day is not far when the upper middle class will at least consider the option of chartering aircraft, perhaps even a VLJ, and charter services will surely expand from the metros to Tier II and Tier III towns. The future is bright if the government realises the link between business aviation and the country’s economic boom. But aviation experts have also sounded a warning that if the growth and expansion turn out to be unbridled there could be turbulent skies ahead. SP

No. of Aircraft

BUSINESS AIRCRAFT: INDUCTION TRENDS 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0

32 22

21 10 5 2004

13

16

8 2005

2006

Fixed Wing

2007

Helicopters

60

No. of Aircraft

even a yacht. The M&A spree that so many Indian corporations are indulging in on a global scale often requires transporting negotiating teams to a distant country at short notice in which case a company jet becomes essential. Any takers for a super sonic business jets (SSBJs)? Aerion Corporation is offering the Aerion SSBJ to customers for delivery in 2014. Costing $80 million (Rs 341 crore), it will permit a super-comfortable business trip from Mumbai to Singapore and return, all in a day. Reportedly, five Indian customers have already been hooked.Here are some of the current business proposals in the pipeline. • Deccan Charters, which will soon be divested from Deccan Aviation, hopes to establish itself as a leading provider of corporate aviation in the country. The company’s roots are in helicopter charters and it plans to build on this by adding at least 15 business jets and an unspecified number of helicopters in the next five years. It believes that helicopters are emerging as a viable way for executives to travel. • NetJets plans to introduce a fractional ownership and charter operation in India perhaps by forming a joint venture with an Indian operator. At least 20 Indians already use NetJets’ services in Europe and should readily take to the desi offer. • Club One Air has been in the charter business for some years but now plans to acquire a dedicated fleet of 11 Eclipse 500 very light jets and target the vast middle class using a ‘seaton-demand’ model. • BJets, a Singapore based company, is scheduled to launch Asia’s first dedicated fractional ownership business by the end of 2008 with a 40 strong fleet comprising 20 Cessna Citation CJ2+ light jets and 20 mid-size Hawker 850XPs and 900XPs. Based primarily in Mumbai and Singapore, this would be the biggest fleet of private jets in Asia. The picture, however, is not all rosy. Despite the excellent outlook for Indian business aviation, it faces daunting challenges, including woeful infrastructure creaking even to keep up with current requirements, leave alone projected growth. These problems are likely to get worse before they get better. Current estimates suggest that around Rs 100,000 crore ($23.8 billion) needs to be spent over the next five to seven years on improvement of civil airports and air traffic services. • Lack of space at airports is becoming a major hurdle as commercial aviation expands. India has around 135 operational airports. However, in addition, there are another 300 or so rarely used or abandoned airstrips that could well be revived and developed into business aviation hubs. • There is also an acute shortage of maintenance facilities for business aviation. In fact, operators face constraints at every step. For example, there are no general aviation terminals, poor facilities for ground handling, lack of hangar space and parking and no dedicated heliports. • India will require 6,000 pilots besides aviation engineers and other skilled personnel to meet its combined aviation needs over the next decade. The existing training facilities can meet only a small fraction of the requirement. • Proliferation of light aircraft into Indian skies would severely test the abilities of air traffic control services. Automation is the need of the hour. • There are no separate guidelines for general aviation in India which entails a difficult regulatory environment for business aircraft. This is partly due to a lack of understanding of the needs of corporate travel. Having paid extra to save time via

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50

37

40 30 20

15

21 Combined Induction

10 0

2004

2005

2006

2007

Note: The helicopter data has also been included in order to depict the overall picture of trends.


CIVIL

FLIGHT SAFETY

SAFETYat Stake Airlines do not seem overly perturbed by the impact of cost cutting on safety, perhaps because safety is not tangible. However,there is a need to exercise a degree of‘cost management’. Group Captain A.K. Sachdev, Bangalore

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lotches marring the golden sheen of what was heralded by some as the renaissance of the Indian aviation have revealed the malaise that lies beneath. Evidently, the Consultative Committee of the Members of Parliament attached to the Ministry of Civil Aviation, and chaired by the Minister for Civil Aviation Praful Patel has a bit of thinking to do. On a positive note, the aviation industry shows all signs of being on a high growth trajectory—four new airlines are waiting in the wings for final clearance to take off, the number of passengers is expected to rise by 20 to 25 per cent this year, there are better choices of airports connected and comparison of air travel to a rail journey still favours the former if the marginal difference of fares is weighed against the substantial time saving that accrues as a trade-off. Although the 25 per cent growth projection is a bit modest when compared to the 30 per cent expected earlier on (based on last year’s figures), it is still an indicator of robust growth. Airport infrastructure is also gathering momentum with private participation on the rise in parallel with a sizeable planned expenditure by the government. In comparison, the flip side of the coin is a bit mottled. An inordinate and unexpected rise in the cost of Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) has dampened the spirit considerably. Airlines have had to revise their fares ever so frequently under the garb of surcharges, and there has and been an impact on the volume of passenare gers carried with consequent drop in load factors for most airlines. Valiant efforts by personnel with Praful Patel to get all states to reduce the non-standardised sales tax on ATF to a standard 4 per cent skill levels, working have borne only limited results and his enin randomly treaties to the central government about designated positions, the need to do something about the high with limited scope ATF prices have fallen largely on deaf ears of ascending up as the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Petroleum also have their own constraints. the learning curve Even those states which had reduced tax on ATF to 4 per cent are now threatening to go back to the earlier, higher figures as

Outsourced loaders drivers

they feel that reduced taxes should have been rewarded by a drop in fares—which has not happened. Meanwhile, fuel costs, accounting for around 40 per cent of an airline’s expenditure bill a year ago, are now moving closer to 45 per cent. Profits, therefore, for any of our airlines remain a distant dream. The options open to an airline in its pursuit of profits are limited. Cutting down fuel costs is beyond their control. Increasing fares in the cut throat competition would be self defeating. So, where and how do they cut costs? The answers—almost all of them—impinge directly or indirectly on aviation safety. DOWNSIZING & OUTSOURCING

The first and foremost cost cutting exercise starts with downsizing of manpower. This may not be the easiest thing to do for NACIL, but private airlines have almost full autonomy in that area. The whole exercise could start with what is euphemistically termed as ‘multiskilling’. An ambitious plan to train personnel hired and trained for one trade to carry out other jobs, it is sometimes totally unrelated to the skill sets demanded by the original job description. Multi-skilling, while being a laudable concept, is by definition a compromise. Unless carried out with great thought and effort in the form of proper training and motivation, it could end up in a situation where mediocrity becomes the norm because the person performing a particular job as a ‘secondary duty’ feels inadequately motivated, sees the additional responsibility as biting into his main one, and often feels indignant Issue 5 • 2008

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CIVIL FLIGHT SAFETY at being asked to carry out the new, additional job. The result: an unmotivated person with the potential to bring about unsafe situations for the airline. As an illustration, preparing the Load and Trim Charts for each flight requires special training. If, in pursuit of downsizing, this job was allocated as an additional duty to say, security personnel, the result could be incorrect calculation of the Charts, with a potential for reducing safety margins during take off. While on the subject of human resource, outsourcing is the buzzword in the aviation industry. A large number of loaders and drivers are employees of a company which is not an airline but whose business is providing these tradesmen to airlines. Quality control over these persons is almost impossible on account of the high turnover and the fact that these companies are rarely contractually obliged to provide the same personnel for the same job daily (which would have meant continuity and, therefore, better job familiarity). To summarise, outsourced loaders and drivers represent personnel with non-standardised skill levels, working in randomly designated job positions, with limited scope of ascending up the learning curve. With cost cutting becoming the prime pre-occupation of airlines, there is a pressure to cut down the number of men for the same job; there is also a fall in the standard of these personnel (semi-skilled as they are) due to pressure on the outsourcing companies to provide personnel at lower rates. One of the results is the lengthening of shift hours. It is not uncommon to find outsourced personnel to be working 12-hour shifts. Even when they are on eight-hour shifts, continuing into the next shift (because of unplanned and sometimes unplanned absence of relief personnel) and thus working 16 hours at a stretch is a common practice. A person who has not slept for 16 hours has the alertness of one who has a blood alcohol level of 0.05 per cent; a crew member is not permitted to fly if his alcohol level is 0.03 or more. Hence, the risks posed by such individuals working on long shifts are evident. As these personnel are working mostly on the airside of an airport, the potential for unsafe acts is considerable. Maintenance costs are a large part of expenditure for an airline. NACIL (both arms of it) is on one end of the spectrum with the wherewithal, albeit on a deficit mode, of investing in adequate spares and facilities to provide for the maintenance support the doctor (or in this case, the OEM) ordered. At the other end of the same spectrum are the low fare carriers which can not afford the luxury of preventive expenditure in the form of spare inventories to cover projected or expected unserviceabilities. Thus, even where known statistics indicate a need for a certain kind of spare to be always ready for instant replacement, the summated cost of such contingent spares is such that they cannot invest in it with their limited spending power. The result is dispatch of aircraft under Minimum Equipment List or Component Deficiency List—conditions where the aircraft is flying with a component either unserviceable or deficient. Although this state is permitted, it is under a slightly lowered level of assurance of safety—especially if some other related unserviceability develops in the air. SAVING ON FUEL

Then there is the expedient of scrimping on the fuel carried on board. The carriage of extra fuel on board implies burning up more fuel just to carry the extra fuel. The marginal 24

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increase in fuel burn due to carriage of extra fuel is weighed against the attendant advantage of carrying fuel from an airport where it is cheaper to another airport where it is dearer (referred to as ‘tankering’). If that factor is ignored, every extra bit of fuel carried would mean loss on account of extra fuel burnt. And hence the attraction of carrying less fuel on board. Regulations define the minimum fuel that must be carried to ensure safe arrival at the destination or, in the event of bad weather/runway blockage at the destination, a safe recovery at the alternative airport. That bare minimum figure is rarely the actual carried by the pilot in flight; every pilot has his own perception of how much extra he must carry. Indeed, there is no standard margin that could be defined for the additional fuel carried by the pilot to assure himself (as the Captain of the aircraft with full responsibility of the safety of this aircraft and passengers) for a particular flight. “Captain’s discretion” is the magic phrase. Although each airline outlines policy on the carriage of fuel, the policy did not—till recently—stipulate the maximum fuel that could be carried for a sector. However, in recent times desperate measures to cut costs have included dictating maximum fuel figures for specific sectors in a bid to rein in those pilots whose ‘safety margins’ are based on the most pessimistic flight scenarios. Whilst not really making flights unsafe, this measure does reduce the safety margins over and above the minimum levels. Some less important cost cutting measures affect crew meals, crew transportation and accommodation, overtime allowances, daily and traveling allowances, which indirectly take a toll on safety. As the belt tightens, there would be some more cost cutting in the areas of ground equipment and vehicles plying on the airside. These measures would also indirectly impinge on safety. A survey, conducted by Ascend, a provider of information and consultancy to the aviation industry, asked participating industry insiders from across the globe to identify the biggest barriers to further improvements in safety by ranking the importance of 10 potential threats. Causing the most concern is a ‘shortage of experienced personnel’ with an average score of 7.3. Respondents ranked ‘fatigue/work practice’ (7.1) and ‘airline management experience/attitudes/culture’ (6.6) as the next most significant risks to improved aviation safety. More than half of the 140 respondents averred that the aviation safety standards were unlikely to improve during the next five years. THE BOTTOMLINE

So what is the prognosis? Will safety levels nosedive or stabilise at the present levels? Will the cost of maintaining safety standards in these days of hardship lead some airlines to financial crises? Airlines do not seem overly perturbed by the impact of cost cutting on safety, perhaps because safety is not tangible. However, there is a need—especially in the light of some doomsday soothsayers predicting a $200 (Rs 8,500) per barrel oil price by the year-end—to exercise a degree of ‘cost management’ instead of ‘cost cutting’. The subtle difference between managing costs and cutting costs would be the higher emphasis on safety. An accident, caused by desperate cost cutting measures, may serve exactly the opposite purpose than desired—by triggering a shut down. Hopefully, the hard times for airlines will end before safety levels are compromised unacceptably. SP


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S

PECIAL REPORT

INDUSTRY

C-17: KEY to PHOTOGRAPHS: BOEING

Strategic

Reach

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ndia, which has a five-year defence modernisation budget in excess of $30 billion (Rs 1,284 crore), is being courted by arms exporters like never before. While the deal for 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) for the Indian Air Force (IAF) is the prime attraction, US defence and aerospace firms like Boeing are also pro-actively pushing their wares like the C-17 heavy airlift capability transport aircraft. While India is already pursuing joint development of a Multi-role Transport Aircraft (MTA) with Russia following an agreement in 2007, US companies are nevertheless realising the opportunity to offer modern transport planes for the near

term. Lockheed Martin has already bagged a deal to sell six C-130J Super Hercules aircraft to the IAF. Acquisition of C130J aircraft by the IAF will help India to pack more lethality to its anti-terror operations. The C-130J aircraft are used by special forces in western countries for specialised operations like storming hostage-holding centres and hijacked planes. The aircraft has the capability to land even in improvised makeshift landing grounds and that too without lights. Apparently, the IAF and India’s Border Security Forces are in the market for products to fulfill their special needs. The IAF is looking to augment its medium lift AN-32 fleet by building a more robust 10-tonne lift capacity fleet. India is

US corporations like Boeing are actively marketing their aerospace and defence wares to India as the country scouts around to fulfill its MMRCA wishlist. Jayant Baranwal reports from C-17 facilities at Long Beach,CA,USA.

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SPECIAL REPORT INDUSTRY also looking to effectively combat the recurring terror attacks it has become susceptible to by purchasing some more tactical transport and strategic lift aircraft. Till such time that its own twin engine, the 10-tonne payload capacity MTA is in place, the IAF, which has about 100 transport aircraft of its own, is also undertaking an upgrade of these aircraft, as well as the heavier IL-76s to extend their life by 10 to 20 years. At present, Boeing C-17 Globemaster III and Lockheed Martin C-130 continue to dominate the world’s fleet of military cargo haulers. With its intercontinental flight range, short-field performance, and ability to carry cargo over 75 tonnes, the C-17 is viewed by India as being suitable for meeting its enhanced strategic/tactical airlift requirements. According to Mike Marshall, Senior Manager, International Business Development at Boeing’s Integrated Defence Systems, “Boeing has actively marketed the C-17 to many European nations including Belgium, Britain, France, and Spain. Countries like India and those in the Asia-Pacific and the Mid-East are potential customers for the C-17 Globemaster III strategic lift aircraft. The aircraft does not require much change or refitting to make it amenable to a particular country’s specific needs and requirements.” Introduced in 1991, the C-17 is retiring the US Air Force’s fleet of 1960s-era C-141 Starlifters and C-5 Galaxy aircraft. Lockheed Martin’s medium-range C-130 Hercules, which entered the US Air Force’s inventory in 1959 and continues to remain in demand with its new C-130J model. The Airbus

A400M and Russia’s super-giant AN-124 are the other players in this game. The Pratt & Whitney’s F117-powered C-17 serves the strategic airlift and mobility needs of the US Air Force, British Royal Air Force, Royal Canadian Air Force and the Royal Australian Air Force. According to Marshall, “Boeing hopes to market the C-17 to countries like India which could operate it as both a commercial and military cargo aircraft.” He said Boeing would like the IAF to have a look at C-17 as an interim acquisition before it starts making its own Multi-role Transport Aircraft. The C-17 Globemaster is the US’ second largest airlifter and is capable of hauling more than 75 tonnes of men and material in the air. The aircraft is valued for its ability to land on short dirt runways such as those overseas or during disaster relief. Also, it has four times the carrying capacity of the C-130 Hercules and its range allows for rapid deployment of troops, combat vehicles, heavy equipment and helicopters. It can carry large combat equipment and troops or humanitarian aid directly to small austere airfields anywhere in the world. The aircraft has flown numerous missions in its brief history. These include natural disaster relief for earthquakes, hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, and war missions that included the spectacular dropping of more than 1,000 troops into northern Iraq during the first days of the Iraq conflict. This was the first combat insertion of paratroopers using C-17s. SP

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

FEATURES & CAPABILITY

• Primary Function: Cargo and troop transport • Prime Contractor: Boeing Company • Power Plant: Four Pratt & Whitney F117-PW-100 turbofan engines • Thrust: 40,440 pounds, each engine • Wingspan: 169 feet 10 inches (to winglet tips) (51.75 meters) • Length: 174 feet (53 meters) • Height: 55 feet 1 inch (16.79 meters) • Cargo Compartment: length, 88 feet (26.82 meters); width, 18 feet (5.48 meters); height, 12 feet 4 inches (3.76 meters) • Speed: 450 knots at 28,000 ft (8,534 meters) (Mach .76) • Service Ceiling: 45,000 ft (13,716 meters) at cruising speed • Range: Global with in-flight refueling • Crew: Three (two pilots and one loadmaster)

The C-17 Globemaster III is the newest, most flexible cargo aircraft capable of rapid strategic delivery of troops and all types of cargo to main operating bases or directly to forward bases in the deployment area. The aircraft can perform tactical airlift and airdrop missions and can also transport litters and ambulatory patients during aeromedical evacuations when required. The aircraft is 174 feet long, 55.08 feet high and has a wingspan of 169.75 feet. With a typical payload of 160,000 pounds (72727 kg), the C-17 can take off from a runway of 7,600 feet, fly 2,400 nautical miles, and land on a small austere airfield in 3,000 feet or less. Ferry range of the C-17 (which can also be refueled in flight) is 4,700 nautical miles. The four engines are Pratt & Whitney PW2040 series turbofans, designated as the F117-PW-100. Each engine produces 40,440 pounds (18,382 kg) of thrust, located on pylons ahead of and below the wing leading edge. The engines are equipped with directed-flow thrust reversers capable of deployment in flight. On the ground, a fully loaded aircraft, using engine reversers, can back up a 2 percent slope. Two of the nacelle design features account for the C-17’s capability to make extreme short-field landings at heavy gross weights: propulsive lift technology and an advanced thrust reverser design. Propulsive lift results from directing engine exhaust across both sides of the flap. A cockpit crew of two, plus one loadmaster operates the C-17, a cost-effective flight crew complement made possible through advanced digital avionics. The system uses four cathode-ray tube displays, two full-capability HUDs (Head-Up Displays) and advanced cargo systems. Cargo is loaded onto the C-17 through a large aft door that can accommodate military vehicles and palletized cargo. The C17 can carry and airdrop 102 paratroopers and virtually all of the army’s outsized combat equipment.

THE C-17, WITH ITS STRONG FEATURES, MAY PROVE TO BE AN EFFECTIVE SOLUTION TO INDIA’S STRATEGIC REACH POTENTIALS

Issue 5 • 2008

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MILITARY

UPGRADES

HIGHofCOST

PHOTOGRAPHS: SP GUIDE PUBNS

Indecision

Indian forces already have a culture of extending the life of their equipment but it is the defence industry that needs to come up with upgrade proposals By Air Marshal (Retd) P.K. Mehra

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general refrain in all the upgrade programmes has been the delays in the decision-making process. In the past, however, problems arising from such dithering have been further compounded by subsequent hitches in implementation. Implementation can be split into two phases—design and development phase, and fleet modification phase. Time taken for decision making can be reduced if periodical improvements and upgrades become a culture with the user and the industry to ensure exploitation of the aircraft and systems. Operators appreciate the changes taking place in the environment and also the weaknesses in the existing system, which need to be modified through use of better technology or outright replacement. The indigenous aircraft can even undergo generational improvements whilst the manufacturing cycle is going on or thereafter but an independent programme of midlife upgrades is inevitable in the case of imported/licence-manufactured aircraft. DESIGN & DEVELOPMENT PHASE This phase commences with defining the operational requirements and the system specifications by the user. Designation of the design and development agency depends upon the platform and the complexity of the upgrade. So far, the availability of design data, especially for the airframe modifications, has been the determining factor in selecting the development agency. In the case of systems upgrade, the selected system integrator designs the system architecture, finalises Interface Control Document and various protocols required for integration. These steps are identical whether the upgrade is being done by foreign vendor/OEM or indigenous agency. Participation by the project team comprising of flight test crew and operation representatives at the premises of the vendors is of utmost importance. The extent of participation by the customer project team will have an impact on the timelines for completion of the programme. After the sub-systems have been identified and the hardware planning and interfaces have been finalised concurrent activities on the integration rig and building the prototype can go on. Next major milestone is the commencement of flight testing, which can be undertaken only after gaining sufficient confidence on the integration rig. Design and development time can be compressed in case an early production go ahead is given to the manufacturing agency but this is fraught with danger. The risk can be managed by using hardware with which the design 28

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team is familiar and has earlier integrated it on other platforms. A half-baked decision can be a costly and time consuming affair leading to changes in the hardware design and may necessitate retro-mod of the production aircraft subsequently. This is where the team work shows up and lack of clarity in individual roles has been the root cause of delays in the past. If the flight test team is well integrated with the design and development team then the Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) can be clearly defined and the capabilities as well as limitations of the system are well known to the user. If the extent of participation and the roles of the customer teams are not clearly negotiated then they are denied adequate transparency in the development process. It is agreed that the issue of intellectual property rights is important but the knowledge gained during the development of equipment and integration is invaluable. From the foregoing it is clear that Indian aviation industry both in public and private sectors must develop the capability to do system integration independently and take advantage of the synergy available through team work. Ideally, design and development post IOC should be limited to software modifications and also more advanced functions including integration of weapons. The increased complexity as a result of systems upgrade can paradoxically lead to increased work load and that can be taken care of through improved Man Machine Interface (MMI) and built in decision support algorithms. Data fusion is the key and the latest generation aircraft in US and other western countries are focused on operational data links to provide solutions to the pilot. MMI activities start on the simulation rig and is fine tuned through extensive flight testing simulating near actual scenarios. The test crew must aim to bring about commonality in displays and functionality of controls in different platforms to reduce effort required to train pilots shifting from one aircraft to another. FLEET MODIFICATION PHASE Fleet modification raises some unique problems, especially in the Indian scenario where the design and development agency could be a foreign vendor/OEM or a multi-disciplinary body established for this purpose. The fleet modification agency has invariably been Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, India’s defence aerospace industry in the public sector, although Base Repair Depots of the Indian Air Force have also undertaken fleet upgrades in the past. Some important issues are: • Although it is not difficult to decide upon the agency


MILITARY UPGRADES

www.iqpc.com/uk/aerodefence2008/SPGUIDE

to carry out the fleet modification but unless the fleet diverse projects running at the same time, but a heavy modification team is involved in all the negotiations cost will be incurred both in terms of time and money in and actual working on the platform along with the case suitable staff is not designated for monitoring the OEM/design and development agency, the programme programme. will be beset with delays. • Ultimately, the responsibilities of each and every parThe extent of transfer of technology, decision to set up ticipating agency should be clearly defined in the conthe overhaul/repair facilities, transparency in system tract document with appropriate penalties. integration and the availability of spares back up will determine the smooth induction of the upgraded plat- CONCLUSION forms. Technological obsolescence demands that the aircraft and Equipment being sourced from various countries be- systems are periodically upgraded to keep them as a frontsides those from India with system integrator having line fighting machine. Planning an upgrade for the equipment very little knowledge about the hardware also creates developed under the ‘Make’ scheme is easy but upgrade of difficulties in aircraft modification. equipment purchased under the ‘Buy’ scheme depends upon a Fleet modification also suffers from lack of knowledge number of external factors. about Mean Time Between Failure of new hardware Indian forces already have a culture of extending life of and since the test and repair facilities are yet to be their equipment but it is the defence industry that needs set up, repair cycle and the time taken to repair are to come up with upgrade proposals on indigenous equipthe unknowns. Use of common equipment in different ment as well as that manufactured under licence. Upgrade programmes can alleviate this problem. of systems like the electronic warfare suites, multi-mode The role of the certification agencies of both countries airborne radar and new weapon systems are likely to pro(in case the contractor is a foreign vendor/OEM) dur- vide maximum improvement in effectiveness of the uping the design and development process as well as the graded platform. The Indian aviation industry and the defleet modification should be discussed threadbare and sign agencies are capable of carrying out avionics systems included in the contract. upgrade unilaterally and hence can save costs but they A project management team with adequate oversight now need to graduate to integration of information from capability must be placed at all the work sites to co- the sensors both onboard and external to bring about a ordinate and provide feed back to ensure smooth plat- generational change. The need for project teams to oversee form upgrade and induction into operational GA_Ad_178x121_SP_CMYK:Layout 1 the 2/5/08 10:43 units. Page 1 both design, development and fleet modification cannot be It may be difficult to spare manpower for a number of overstated. SP

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• Bill Sweetman, Editor-in-Chief, Defence Technology International • Tim Ripley, Independent Journalist • Rob Hewson, Editor, Jane’s Air-Launched Weapons • Elfan ap Rees, Editor, Helicopter International • Peter Scoffham, Vice President Customer Marketing, Airbus Military • Tim Fuller, Publisher, Flight Premium Services, Flight International • Chet Fuller, General Manager, Marketing, GE Aircraft Engines • Peter Leiman, Managing Director, Blink

Panellists:

• Wing Commander Andrew Brookes (Ret'd), Aerospace Analyst, IISS • Richard Burman, Managing Director, Bristow Helicopters Eastern Hemispheres • Richard Burman/Allan Blake, Directors, FB Heliservices (FBH) enquire@iqpc.co.uk www.iqpc.com/uk/aerodefence2008/SPGUIDE

Issue 5 • 2008

SP’S AVIATION

29


PHOTOGRAPHS: CESSNA

CIVIL

BUSINESS AVIATION

CessnaSighted

F

lashbulbs popped and gasps of admiration punctuated the air as a Cessna Citation CJ2+ Business Jet touched down at Hosur airfield in the south of Bangalore on May 3. On a tour to India to entice prospective customers, the aircraft had arrived from Singapore piloted by Mike Walton and John D. Lewis. Present on the occasion were Michael McGreevy, Director of Sales, Citation Marketing Division; Sameer Rehman, Singapore-based Director, International Finance, Asia Pacific, Cessna Finance Corporation; and Air Commodore B. Banerjee, Indian representative of US-based Textron, owners of Cessna. Proprietor of Hosur airfield Taneja Aerospace and Aviation Ltd is the authorised sales representative and service facility of Cessna Aircraft Company (CAC) in India. THE CESSNA CITATION CJ2+ A low cost light business jet, the Cessna Citation CJ2+ was built upon one of the most popular and successful Cessna models in this category—the Citation CJ2. Cessna delivered the first Citation CJ2 in November 2000 and its successor the CJ2+ in April 2006. Cessna Citation models in the light jet

category are priced between $2.8 million (Rs 11.2 crore) and $9.5 million (Rs 38 crore). Those in the mid-size category range between $12 million (Rs 48 crore) and $22 million (Rs 88 crore). The new Citation model Columbus in the super mid-size jet category is under development and estimated to be priced at approximately $28 million (Rs 112 crore).

In India, there are 20 Cessna Citation business jets flying around even as the

Citation CJ2+

and the Citation XLS gain in popularity

The Citation CJ2+ has a pressurised cabin that accommodates a crew of two and up to eight passengers. With a maximum height of 1.45 m, the CJ2+ does not have a stand-up cabin. The aircraft is powered by two Williams FJ44-3A-24 engines with Full Authority Digital Engine Controls (FADEC), each generating 2,490 pounds of thrust. Compared to the CJ2, the aircraft

CESSNA & THE TEXTRON CONNECTION The Cessna Aircraft Company, owned by Textron of the US, introduced business jets in 1972. Based on unit sales, Cessna is the world’s largest manufacturer of general aviation airplanes. Cessna’s market share in 2007 in the light and mid-size jet categories stood at 55 per cent. In 2007, Cessna delivered 1,272 aircraft, including 387 Citation business jets and reported revenues of about $5 billion (Rs 21,425 crore). There are nine different Citation models currently under production and Cessna has a current backlog of $14.5 billion (Rs 62,133 crore). In 2008, the company plans to delver 500 business jets. Since the company was originally established in 1927, nearly 200,000 Cessna airplanes have been delivered around the world. The global fleet of more than 5,100 Citations is the largest fleet of business jets in the world. In India, there are 20 Cessna Citation business jets flying around and seven more (five CJ2+ and two XLS) are expected to be delivered this year. Meanwhile, the Citation CJ2+ and the Citation XLS steadily gain in popularity. SP 30

SP’S AVIATION

Issue 5 • 2008

has a higher payload capacity (plus 300 pounds) and higher rate of climb attaining 45000 ft in 28 minutes, eight minutes earlier than its predecessor. At maximum take off weight under ISA conditions at sea level, the take off runway length is 3,360 ft and landing runway length is 2,980 ft. The aircraft has a range of 2,987 km and a maximum cruise speed of 774 kmph. It has typical cruising altitudes between 33,000 ft and 45,000 ft above mean sea level. Flaunting a fully integrated Pro Line 21 Flight Deck, the aircraft’s primary flight, navigation, weather, engine and sensor data are consolidated into large easy-to-scan active matrix LCDs for information management intuitive, at-a-glance situational awareness. The aircraft is certified to the requirements of US 14 CFR Part 23 including day, night, VFR, IFR and flight-into-known icing conditions. It is also certified for single pilot operations. The aircraft is compliant with all RVSM certification requirements. However, specific approval is required for operation within RVSM airspace. Cessna offers a fee-based service to assist with this process. SP

— Air Marshal (Retd) B.K. Pandey, Bangalore

TANEJA AEROSPACE Taneja Aerospace and Aviation Ltd (TAAL) represents the Cessna Aircraft Company in India for the Citation range of business jets and caravan aircraft. With Indian companies looking to replace outdated turbo-props with modern business jets and Cessna dominating the light and mid-sized jet market worldwide, TAAL sees tremendous business opportunity in this area. In the last two years, five Citation Jets and two Cessna Caravan aircrafts were delivered in India. TAAL is setting up a Cessna authorised service facility for maintenance of Cessna aircraft in the country. SP


PECIAL REPORT

INDUSTRY

With the successful maiden flight of the 98-ft long Sukhoi Superjet 100 on May 19, the aircraft is on course to enter service by end-2008 or early-2009

R

ussia’s largest warplane maker is poised to launch the country’s regional passenger jet production targeted at the markets in the West. Barely a few days after successful taxiing and run tests, the Sukhoi Superjet 100 (SSJ100) accomplished its first test flight at its manufacturing base at Komsomolsk-on-Amur, setting the stage for the 78 to 98 passenger mid-liner to create a big bang in the regional jet market. “To witness the Sukhoi Superjet 100 take to the air for

the first time makes it the most important day for all of us. It has been a long way but the result we achieved is truly inspiring for our team of thousands of people from all over the world who share in this great success,” said Mikhail Pogosyan, Director General of Sukhoi Holding. Commenting on the smooth accomplishment of the first flight test of SSJ100, Victor Subbotin, President of Sukhoi Civil Aircraft said, “In the aviation industry first flights are always milestones and the most important event for people involved in a new aircraft project. A first flight is a challenge, but the excellent technical and flight characteristics make the Sukhoi Superjet 100 a super new product and a unique project for the Russian industry. Every minute of the first flight was both an exciting expectation and an impressive experience, making this an incredibly emotional moment for us.” If the programme adheres to schedule, Sukhoi’s Superjet is expected to enter service by end-2008 or early-2009. “While much remains to be completed on the way to certification, I am certain that we are well prepared for them and that the aircraft will enjoy the success it deserves,” said a euphoric Pogosyan. Completion of the first flight test of the SSJ100 propels the Sukhoi Superjet project nearer to the delivery date. Russia not only hopes to secure at least 10 per cent of the world airliner market but also to take third place among aircraft-producing countries by 2015-2018. Sukhoi aims to produce five to six SSJ100s a month by 2010.

SSJ takes off ADVANTAGE SSJ100 With a price tag of $28 million (Rs 118 crore), the Sukhoi Superjet is expected to breathe a fresh lease of life into the $8 billion (Rs 33,600 crore) per annum regional jet market. The market share of regional aircraft has plummeted from 17 per cent in 2004 to 13 per cent in recent times. The SSJ100 will compete directly with Brazil’s Embraer and Bombardier of Canada, which at present dominate the 70 to 100 seat aircraft market. But the competitive price of SSJ100 and its other advantages could well give rivals Embraer and Bombardier cause to worry. Low cost, locally sourced materials ensure the Superjet is around 20 per cent cheaper to build than the competitors’ aircraft. The Russians also believe that new fuel-efficient engines developed with the help of French engine-maker Snecma, will lead to operating costs that are 10 to 15 per cent lower than either Bombardier or Embraer models. Expectedly, Sukhoi has drawn up aggressive export targets together with Italian partner Alenia Aeronautica. “It is with great pride and satisfaction that we welcome the Sukhoi Superjet’s maiden flight. Participating in the SSJ 100 programme is a great opportunity for us to capitalise the technical and commercial know-how previously acquired by Alenia Aeronautica in the regional aircraft market sector,” said Giovanni Bertolone, CEO Alenia Aeronautica. He further added, “Alenia Aeronautica thinks that the strategic investment in Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Company (SCAC) and the partnership with Sukhoi in the new joint venture Superjet International for the sales and after sales of the new aircraft will bring long term success in a high competitive market.” Having pre-sold 73 aircraft mainly to Russian airlines, Sukhoi aims to sell 1,000 planes with 700 of them going to global export markets. Sukhoi predicts that 163 units of all variations of the Superjet 100 will be delivered by the end of 2016. The Superjet 100 airliner family is being developed based on the principle of maximum standardisation of frame assemblies and systems, vis-à-vis wings, fins, chassis, engine unit, crew cabin, basic aircraft systems and component parts. Standardisation of design makes it possible to improve the economic performance of the aircraft family operation with expenditures kept at a rational level. “This aircraft is remarkable. It’s pleasant to see how smoothly it goes. The Sukhoi Superjet 100 is easy to control and very good in ergonomics. This new aircraft I piloted for the first time is every bit as good as Airbus and Boeing’s planes,” remarked SCAC Chief Pilot Alexander Yablontsev. SP Issue 5 • 2008

SP’S AVIATION

31

PHOTOGRAPHS: SUKHOI

S


SHOW REPORT

EBACE ’08

Mercury

Rising

According to Bombardier’s latest market forecast, growth in non-US markets is expected to drive the business jet deliveries to 1,320 annually between 2008 and 2017,compared with the industry average of 620 in the period from 1998 to 2007 By Alan Peaford, Geneva, Switzerland

E

urope’s business aviation showcase, the European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE) is the second biggest business aviation event in the world after the National Business Aviation Association. Several of the major manufacturers, however, insist it is the most important—a claim substantiated by this year’s show in Geneva that was voted a huge success. Bolstered by a record number of visitors and representation by top OEMs across the world, the event witnessed a flurry of orders and tales of major new investments in the sector. Little wonder that both operators and manufacturers left Geneva beaming. California’s on-demand operator XOJet announced $2.4 billion (Rs 10,247.5 crore) of fresh investment and has unveiled ambitious plans to launch operations from Abu Dhabi later this year. “No one has ever raised this kind of capital 32

SP’S AVIATION

Issue 5 • 2008


SHOW REPORT EBACE ’08 in this industry,” says Chief Executive Paul Touw. “Of course, no one ever had a model like ours.” In September, the first of 80 Challenger 300s joins the fleet, and soon the company will select a long-range aircraft—the third and final model for the fleet. The fourth round of XOJet’s financing revealed at EBACE is from the Economic Development Corporation of Canada, White Oak Investments, and TPG Growth. Morgan Stanley led the effort that brought $964 million (Rs 4,116 crore) in immediate financing. The remaining $1.5 billion (Rs 4,269 crore) is via a joint venture with Tasameem Real Estate Company,

which is awaiting UAE approval of a new air operator’s certificate. “That will take between three and six months, so we’ll begin operations towards the end of 2008,” says Touw. Swiss-based VistaJet stunned visitors with the announcement that it is to buy Bombardier’s international charter operator Skyjet. The two companies have signed an MoU for the acquisition of Skyjet International. The deal includes Skyjet’s bases in Farnborough, Dubai and Hong Kong, and makes VistaJet the second-largest private jet company outside North America, behind NetJets. Both parties have agreed not to disclose the sum VistaJet paid, and the deal depends on a final contract being signed by the end of June at the latest, says VistaJet’s Group CEO Bing Chen. Skyjet’s operations in North America are not affected by the deal. Another company with aggressive expansion plans is ExecuJet. Expanding its worldwide presence, the Swiss-based company announced the setting up of new national headquarters for Russia, India and China, and has continued its expansion into Europe with the stunned opening of a UK visitors base in March. The with the new Russian office, announcement in Moscow, already has two sales repthat it is to buy resentatives “to Bombardier’s support a boominternational ing market where charter three to four busioperator Skyjet ness jets are being delivered each month”, according to Gerrit Basson, ExecuJet Group Managing Director. Primary sales focus of the Moscow office will be for Grob’s spN light jet and Aerion’s SBJ. The company’s expansion into Asia is testament to the growing demand for business aviation in the Asia-Pacific region. The Indian office, in Mumbai, will initially focus on the SimplyFly ownership model, as well as sales of all its representative brands: the Bombardier range of business jets and Grob’s spN light jet. “We clearly recognise the growing requirements from business jet owners in India for professional business jet services,” says Basson, who intends to develop the office to establish a local aircraft management division, a charter office and a full maintenance facility from where it can best support the huge numbers of jets that are AIMING FOR THE SKY: XOJET CHIEF EXECUTIVE coming into the Indian market. PAUL TOUW Earlier this year, ExecuJet opened facilities at Singapore’s Seletar airport in February and the new Beijing office supports the region’s demands. “There are 300 business jets operating

Swissbased VistaJet

Issue 5 • 2008

SP’S AVIATION

33


SHOW REPORT EBACE ’08

LEFT TO RIGHT FRESH ENTRANT: DASSAULT ANNOUNCED LX VERSION OF FALCON 900EX EASY • DONE DEAL: NETJETS CEO EUROPE BILY KELLY FLANKED BY DASSAULT’S JOHN ROSANVALLON AND CHARLES EDELSTENNE AFTER SIGNING THE DEAL FOR 20 FALCONS 2000LX • SUCCESS SMILES: P&WC’S EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT JOHN SAABAS LEANS ON CESSNA’S CITATION COLUMBUS WITH CESSNA’S VICE PRESIDENT SALES AND MARKETING ROGER WHYTE

SPOTLIGHT ON COMPONENTS —By Phil Nasskau, Geneva Cessna released details of suppliers that will work with on its new, large cabin, intercontinental model 850 Citation Columbus. Following its success with the upper and lower panels assemblies on the Cessna Citation X wing, Dallas-based Vought Aircraft Industries will produce the aircraft’s wing at its Nashville facility. Cessna has also decided to outsource the design and manufacture of the landing gear system. This work has gone to Goodrich, who will also be providing the wheels and brakes—something they do for other Citations. Argo Tech is for the first time designing and producing the complete fuel system for a Cessna aircraft. Columbus will be powered by twin P&WC PW810s. The Columbus, the flagship of the Cessna Citation family, is aiming for FAA certification by the end of 2013. P&WC didn’t stop there with

in Asia-Pacific, and the majority are privately owned. So there is plenty of opportunity for an experienced organisation like ExecuJet to further bolster the number jets flying in the region,” Basson adds. Certainly, there will be more. Bombardier took the opportunity to announce its market forecast. Fuelled by a strong order intake and a record backlog, the Canadian company is optimistic about increasing delivery numbers through the next decade. Growth in non-US markets is expected to drive the business jet deliveries to 1,320 annually between 2008 and 2017, compared with the industry average of 620 in the period from 1998 to 2007, according to the Canadian company’s latest forecast. The forecast—estimating DEBUTANT: (BELOW) PILATIUS’ PC12 NG value of more than $300 ON DISPLAY FOR THE FIRST TIME billion (Rs 12,80,244 crore) ON A HIGH: (RIGHT) HAWKER over the 10 years—does BEECHCRAFT TOOK 40 FIRM ORDERS AND A FURTHER 30 POSITIONS ON not include aircraft it has ITS NEWLY UNVEILED PREMIER II

34

SP’S AVIATION

Issue 5 • 2008

Bombardiers Learjet 85 taking on a pair of PW307B engines. While avionics supplier Rockwell Collins unveiled major new commitments by business jet manufacturers to its new-generation cockpit and cabin systems, Bombardier has selected the Pro Line Fusion integrated cockpit for the new, all-composite Learjet 85. The HGS-6000 head-up guidance system has been named as part of the Fusion fit for Cessna’s Citation Columbus, which is due to enter service in 2014. Collins has also announced that its new Venue cabin entertainment system for the Citation CJ4, set for first deliveries in 2010, will incorporate iPod docking. Meanwhile, Avidyne announced a new weather and text-messaging system it’ll promote through their new Avidyne-Europe office. The new MLX770 will rely on the 66-satellite Iridium constellation to connect instant weather to Entegra- and EX500-equipped aircraft. SP

categorised as Very Light Jets, such as the Beechcraft Premier I, the Cessna Citation Mustang, CJ1+, CJ2+, Eclipse and Embraer Phenom 100. Bombardier Vice-President Strategy and Business Development Mairead Lavery says deliveries should rise steadily from nearly 1,000 this year to almost 1,500 in 2017, although orders are expected to drop from just under 1,800 last year to fewer than 1,000 next year before beginning to climb again. Last year’s surge in orders came as a surprise, Lavery says, encouraging Bombardier to boost its delivery forecast dramatically from the 2007 forecast of 995 a year in the period from 2007 to 2016. International markets will continue growing, says Lavery. In addition, she adds, industry backlogs represent 29 months’ production and the market for second-hand aircraft is healthy. Commenting on US economic worries, President and Chief Operating Officer Pierre Beaudoin says: “As far as aviation is concerned, we have not seen an impact. We see growth.” The current industry record backlog was estimated by Lavery as being the equivalent of two-and-a-half years’ production (2,571 units worth $63 billion, or Rs 2,69,086 crore). Golf maestro Adam Scott, meanwhile, is the new face of Gulfstream in Asia Pacific and he came to EBACE to seal the agreement. The Australian star, who is consistently ranked in the world top 10 and has six PGA Tour titles to his name, will promote the Gulfstream brand across the region. SP


SHOW REPORT EBACE ’08

AMBITIONS UNVEILED

TOP TO DOWN WINNERS TAKE IT ALL: (2ND FROM LEFT) BOMBARDIER’S PIERRE BEAUDOIN RAISES A CHEER FLYING HIGH: (LEFT TO RIGHT) GERAR WISSEL, GLOBAL HEAD OF LUFTHANSA PRIVATE JET, TREVOR ESLING, VICE PRESIDENT INTERNATIONAL SALES FOR CESSNA, AND STEFAN SIPPEL, LUFTHANSA DIRECTOR OF AIRCRAFT PURCHASING A DASH OF GLAMOUR: GOLF MAESTRO ADAM SCOTT IS THE NEW FACE OF GULFSTREAM IN ASIA PACIFIC

—By Phil Nasskau, Geneva Eclipse has been struggling to secure the European Aviation Safety Agency’s (EASA) certification for the last two years and there is still no date in sight for European certification of the very light jet, according to Eclipse Aviation executives at the European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition 2008 (EBACE). A two-configuration move would go directly against the company’s plans for the type’s single equipment fit worldwide. Eclipse also denied any anticipated EASA demands on equipment or performance would entail changes to the aircraft that were not already within the company’s plans. Couch says EASA requirements mean the aircraft’s Avio NG avionics fit has yet to undergo some development before it will be ready for EASA, but says the company was doing that anyway for fleet-wide retrofit. Boeing announced that it had started work on the first BBJ 3, the VIP variant of the 737-900ER. At its Washington facility, the staff is currently building wing parts which will be fixed to the fuselage prior to the aircraft joining the 737 moving assembly line. Boeing has orders for eight and the first is set to enter service in 2009. Business aviation stalwart Gulfstream, meanwhile, revealed more about the G650. The new jet, when it enters service sometime in 2012, will take on the mantle of the fastest civil jet from Cessna’s Citation X. The G650 will have a maximum cruise speed of Mach 0.925, as well as offer 28 per cent more cabin volume and 30 per cent more floor area than Gulfstream’s current flagship, the G550. Twin Rolls Royce Deutshchland BR725 engines with a 4.6 per cent thrust increase—now 16,100 lbf— will power the G650, besides a 3.1 per cent increase in thrust to weight ratio, as well as a 3.5 per cent reduction in specific fuel consumption in the cruise to 0.657lb/lbf/hr. The G650 is earmarked for first flight in 2009 with dual FAA and EASA certification scheduled for 2011 and the first delivery in 2012. French airframer Dassault formally announced its LX, the upgraded versions of the 900EX EASy. It will be built on the same platform as its predecessor, but features winglets and an extended range to 4,800 nm. Certification of the twinjet is expected in the first half of 2010 and deliveries will start in mid-2010 when it will replace the Falcon 900EX on the

production line. Speaking at the show, President John Rosanvallon said: “The 900LX will make one of the most popular Falcon series much more capable, economical and environmentally responsible to operate.” Plugging the gaps in its family, Embraer added to its Legacy with the launch of MSJ and MLJ programmes. The mid-light is the Legacy 450, while the large mid-size becomes the Legacy 500. The two jets come with a ‘special offer’: an introductory price for the aircraft. The Legacy 450 is priced at $15.25 million (Rs 65 crore) and the 500 will cost $18.4 million (Rs 78 crore). Both are clean-sheet designs, with around 95 per cent commonality. The main difference is that the mid-size 500 has a longer fuselage. First deliveries of the Legacy 500 are scheduled for Q2 2012, with the 450 arriving in Q2 2013. Embraer was open for orders at EBACE. Competitor Bombardier further clarified Learjet 85 performance figures. The programme has now entered the “Joint Definition Phase” which is where the design will start to become frozen. Vice President for the programme David Coleal said, “The 85 is 42 per cent bigger than the 60 XR and fits in nicely between the 60 XR and the Challenger 300.” Hawker Beechcraft unwrapped the Premier II, an upgraded version of the Premier IA. The more capable variant of the Premier family offers greater range, speed and altitude. Swiss manufacturer Pilatus introduced its PC12 NG, which gained EASA and FAA certification on March 28. The NG features a number of “significant improvements” over the PC12—namely, fully integrated Honeywell Primus Apex avionics, a redesigned cockpit by BMW Group DesignworksUSA and a more powerful version of Pratt & Whitney Canada’s venerable PT6 engine, the PT6A-67P. Italian manufacturer Piaggio used EBACE to unveil its new interior upgrade package for the Avanti II. The new interior comes under the marque of Avanti II.it. Vice President Commercial Giuliano Felten said at EBACE: “.it stands for ‘Italian technology’ and that is exactly what we have brought on the P.180 with this new option.” French airframer EADS Socata showed off the new Model 2008 TBM850 turboprop. The single-engined aircraft features an all-glass cockpit based on the Garmin G1000 for reduced pilot workload and ease of maintenance. SP

customer to convert its letter of intent (LOI) to firm contracts for Bombardier’s Learjet 85. The contract covers six firm aircraft and was valued at $103 million (Rs 439 crore). Europe’s largest business jet operator NetJets Europe signed for 20 more of Dassault’s Falcon 2000LXs worth approximately $720 million (Rs 3,068 crore), adding to NetJets’ previous order for 10 of the type. Interest has been strong in the new jet and as such the next available delivery slot is in 2015 with a base price of $20.5 million (2015 price). Assuming all LOI holders convert to firm orders. Embraer also tasted success with sales totalling $105 million (Rs 447 crore) covering firm orders of four Phenom 100s, a single Phenom 300 and two Legacy 600s. It also has options signed for two more Phenom 100s as well as a two Legacy 500s and a single Legacy 450. The orders come from a variety of operators from the Middle East right across to Europe. Hawker Beechcraft was not left out in the cold and had

taken 40 firm orders and a further 30 positions on its newly unveiled Premier II. Additionally, the company inked a deal with Indian-based start-up fractional and block charter operator BJETS for 10 Hawker 4000s as well as options for a further five worth in excess of $330 million (Rs 1,406 crore). Cessna, meanwhile, received an order from Austrian charter giant Jet Alliance for 24 more aircraft, taking its Citation orders this year to 50: four Mustangs, seven CJ2+s, 11 CJ3s, three CJ4s, 10 XLS+, seven Sovereigns, four Citation Xs and four of the OEMs latest large-cabin Citation Columbus variant. Additionally, an order from Russian air taxi operator Dexter for 20 Mustangs was also clinched at the show. Cessna’s entry level jet should be certificated in Russia in early 2010. Cessna also penned a deal with Lufthansa Private Jet worth more than $50 million (Rs 213 crore) for seven Citations, two CJ1+, two CJ3 and two XLS+. Delivery of the Citations will be by spring next year. SP

BIG BUDGET BUYS —By Phil Nasskau, Geneva Airbus secured its largest ever widebody VIP order for the sale of six A350 XWB Prestiges to MAZ Aviation of Saudi Arabia. The deal at list prices was valued at some $1.5 billion (Rs 6,391.5 crore) and the first delivery is scheduled for sometime in 2015. “Some of these aircraft are for our customers, while others are for our own purposes,” explained MAZ Chairman Mohammed Al-Zeer as he signed the contracts in Geneva. “The range of the aircraft was interesting and the cabin was very spacious, spacious enough to stay in for long journeys. It can go point to point from anywhere in the world.” Bombardier secured a massive order worth some $1.3 billion (Rs 5,539 crore) from Swiss-headquartered, but Malaysianfinanced, VistaJet. The deal covers 35 firm aircraft and a further 25 options. Firm orders are for 11 Challenger 605s, 13 Learjet 60 XRs and 11 Learjet 85s. Elsewhere, ExecuJet was the first

Issue 5 • 2008

SP’S AVIATION

35


SHOW REPORT EBACE ’08

MONEY MATTERS Deals worth over $5 billion (Rs 2,135 crore) were struck at EBACE 2008 FIXED WING AIRCRAFT Manufacturer Airbus

Aircraft

Number

Buyer

Value

ACJ A318 Elite

1 2

Jetalliance Jetalliance

A350 Prestige

6

MAZ Aviation

$185 mn (Above figure is combined) $1500 mn

Bombardier

Challenger 605 Learjet 60XR Learjet 85 Learjet 85 Global Express XRS

11 13 11 6 2

VistaJet VistaJet VistaJet ExecuJet Comlux

$1300 mn (Above figure is combined) $103 mn $100 mn*

Cessna

Citation Mustang Citation (various) Citation (various)

20 24 13

Dexter Jetalliance Lufthansa Pvt Jet

$54 mn* $700 mn** $50 mn

Dassault

Falcon 2000LX

20

NetJets Europe

$720 mn

EADS Socata

TBM 850

2

JetFly

$6 mn*

Embraer

Phenom 100 Legacy 450 Legacy 500 Phenom 300

1 1 Option 2 Options 1

Legacy 600 Legacy 600 Legacy 600 Phenom 100 Phenom 100 Phenom 300

1 1 1 1 (+ 2 Options) 2 2 (+2 Options)

Gulfstream

G650 G650

Hawker Beechcraft

Hawker 4000 Hawker 4000 Premier II

Honda

HondaJet

AugustaWestland

Eurocopter

}

5 5

ASAIG Aviation

SS Lootah Group Burgan Company Linxair VLJ Consultants Finnish Av Academy Executive Airshare

$25 mn* $10 mn* (Above figure is combined)

Prestige Jet Ocean Sky

$300 mn* $300 mn*

BJets Western Aviation information unavailable

$330 mn

1

Jenson Button

$4 mn

AW119Ke AW109S Grand

1 1

Private (Russia) Ultimate Security Tanzania

$10 mn* $10 mn*

EC 135 Hermes

1

Falcon Aviation

$9 mn*

10 (+ 5 Options) 1 40

Helicopters

TOTAL (Approx)

$5.356 bn

* List Prices derived from open sources

36

SP’S AVIATION

** Citation prices are estimations

Issue 5 • 2008

mn = million; bn = billion


S

PECIAL REPORT

SP’sAirBuz Launched Inaugural Issue

SP’s

A n E x c l u s i v e M a g a z i n e o n C i v i l Av i a t i o n f r o m I n d i a

Deceptively

BRIGHT? Analysing the true picture of Indian aviation

2

1

• PILOTS TRAINING • BUDGET ANALYSIS & MUCH MORE...

www.spsairbuz.net

AN SP GUIDE PUBLICATION

3

5

PHOTOGRAPHS: SHARAD SAXENA

4

1. Ashok Chawla, Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA), releases the inaugural edition of SP’s AirBuz with the Editor-in-Chief, Jayant Baranwal; 2. Boeing officials express their appreciation; 3. The Editor-in-Chief flanked by Ashok Chawla and Captain Gopinath of Deccan Aviation together with a host of dignitaries, including Dr Dinesh Keskar of Boeing; Srivastava, Jt Secretary, MoCA; Ramalingham, Chairman, AAI; and Dr Amit Mitra, Secretary General, FICCI, among others; 4. The Editor-in-Chief makes a point as SP’s AirBuz Editor Air Marshal (Retd) B.K. Pandey (left) and Boeing’s Dr Dinesh Keskar look on; 5. Captain Gopinath looked especially pleased at the launch of an exclusive magazine on civil aviation Issue 5 • 2008

SP’S AVIATION

37


Hall of Fame “Before the Wright brothers, no one in aviation did anything fundamentally right. Since the Wright brothers, no one has done anything fundamentally different.”—Darrel Collins, Kitty Hawk National Historical Park

W

ILBUR WRIGHT WAS BORN on April 16, 1867 and Orville four years later on August 19, both in Dayton, Ohio. Any bright schoolchild asked what was special about the Wright brothers would probably reply, “Oh, they were the first to fly a heavier-thanair powered plane.” Not quite. The first heavier-than-air fixed wing aircraft—a glider designed by Sir George Cayley—was flown half a century earlier in Britain with Sir George’s coachman persuaded, against his better judgement, to be sole occupant. Neither was the addition of an engine to their glider the defining accomplishment of the Wrights. The Wright brothers were, in fact, the first to invent the aircraft controls that make sustained flight possible, and demonstrate their invention. Every aircraft flown since then has used their principles of aerodynamic control in some form or the other. The world’s first powered, controlled and sustained heavier-than-air flight took place on December 17, 1903. The Kitty Hawk Flyer, with Orville at the controls, lifted off at 10.35 am. The flight was over rather quickly—in 120 seconds—and covered a distance of just 120 ft (36 m). The speed, as can be imagined, was fairly slow at 6.8 mph (10.9 km/h) and the average height, 10 ft (3 m). The Flyer had a wingspan of 40 ft (12 m), weighed 625 lbs (283 kg), and was powered by a 12 hp (9 kW) engine. After the initial success, Wilbur and Orville took it in turns to get airborne again and prove that the first flight was no flash in the pan. In those days, landing was never a smooth affair but a sudden precipitous descent when the aircraft became uncontrollable—in other words, a crash. To quote from Orville’s account of the final flight of the day: “The first few hundred feet were up and down, as before, but by the time three hundred feet had been covered, the machine was 38

SP’S AVIATION

Issue 5 • 2008

under much better control. The course for the next four or five hundred feet had but little undulation. However, when out about eight hundred feet, the machine began pitching again and, in one of its darts downward, struck the ground. The frame supporting the front rudder was badly broken, but the main part of the machine was not injured at all. We estimated that the machine could be put in condition for flight again in about a day or two.” Thus was crafted a truly momentous day in history. Long hours spent in the printing press they built and in the bicycle repair and designing business they established next perhaps helped to hone the brothers’ mechanical prowess. Later, their interest in aviation was aroused. They read whatever was available on the subject and began their mechanical aeronautical experimentation in 1899. The humble bicycle taught them the fundamental truth that there may be inescapable reasons why a machine is unstable, but successful operation is assured only when one overcomes this instability and controls the beast. This was at variance with the approach of other enthusiasts who searched in vain for “inherent stability” and either believed that (a) practice makes perfect and eventually human beings could learn to control skittish aircraft by sheer persistence; or (b) that ever more powerful engines would some day succeed in keeping the aircraft flying. The brothers made numerous glider flights at Kitty Hawk in North Carolina on the Atlantic coast between 1900 and 1903. The strong winds helped the gliders get airborne without too much difficulty but controlling them in flight was another matter. Soft sand helped limit the damage and injury in a crash (of which there were many). The Wrights were obsessed with control. By observing birds, they learnt that it is necessary to bank in order to turn to one side smoothly. Their experience with bicycles at high

Orville Wright (1871 – 1948) & Wilbur Wright (1867 – 1912)

The world’s first powered, controlled and sustained heavier-than-air flight took place on December 17, 1903.The Kitty Hawk Flyer, with Orville at the controls, lifted off at 10.35 am.The flight was over rather quickly—in 120 seconds—and covered a distance of just 120 ft (36 m).Wilbur and Orville took it in turns to get airborne again and prove that the first flight was no flash in the pan. speed bore this out. After much experimentation the duo hit upon a novel way to achieve control by twisting the


Hall of Fame wing. They discovered that when the ends of the wings were warped or twisted in opposite directions by means of a pulley system, the differential lift would bank and turn the craft. Later, the siblings created a twin rudder arrangement in front to stop the aircraft yawing from side to side and to balance turns. Elevators (fitted at the wing leading edge in their design) provided control in the pitching axis. Such controls enabled them to balance the plane, maintain it in equilibrium despite turbulence and steer it in the desired direction. In 1906, they were awarded US patent 821,393 for a “Flying Machine”, a system to manipulate an aircraft’s control surfaces in order to achieve three-axis aerodynamic control, this is, in pitch, roll and yaw). Another notable first was reliance on wind-tunnel data— now considered indispensable in the design of aircraft. The duo built a six-foot wind tunnel and conducted systematic tests on miniature wings. A viewing window in the top of the tunnel permitted continuous observation of the wings to determine which designs worked well and which were unsuitable. The painstaking tests produced a wealth of aeronautical data of superior quality, enabling the brothers to design and build wings and propellers more effective than any before. Adding power to the controllable glider was the last step in the long process. The Wrights realised that a propeller can be understood as a wing (aerofoil) rotating in the vertical plane and installed a pair of contra-rotating propellers on the Flyer to offset the torque effect on the airframe. Remarkably efficient, their propeller design was way ahead of its time. It proved virtually impossible to obtain an engine sufficiently light yet powerful. Finally, their shop mechanic Charles Taylor designed and built a lightweight, aluminium cast, gasoline fuelled engine under the guidance of the brothers, in just six weeks. After the December 1903 feat, the next few years were spent in refining data and improving on subsequent versions of the Flyer. The 1905 Flyer was the world’s first practical airplane—it could remain airborne till the fuel ran out or land in a planned fashion, without crashing. The Wrights demonstrated their Flyers all over Europe and America to an incredulous public. Their flights captivated the world and made the brothers the first great celebrities of the twentieth

century. Two bits of Wright trivia. First, neither of the brothers ever married. Second, May 25, 1910 was unique for the family. On this day, Orville flew a six-minute trip with Wilbur as his passenger, the only time the brothers flew together. Apart from this occasion, they never flew in the same plane, so that if an accident cut one life short the other brother could continue the experiments. Next, Orville took his father on a nearly seven-minute flight, the only one of Milton Wright’s life. It is said that the 82-year old man called out, “Higher, Orville, higher!” Dogged by business and patent troubles, the Wright brothers’ triumph was rather short lived. Many other teams copied and even improved on their designs. Soon the Wright Flyers were no longer the best in the business. The public only seemed interested in the most dangerous and deathdefying stunts by the new machines and many lives were lost in risky demonstrations. Wilbur’s spirit was probably broken by the legal wrangles and he died of typhoid on May 30, 1912. Orville sold the aircraft business in 1916 and went back to inventing, but did not succeed in making anything half so spectacular as an airplane. He succumbed to a heart attack on January 30, 1948. There were many competing claims by rival aviators at the time, most notably Glen Curtiss and the Smithsonian Institution. They attempted to belittle the Wright brothers’ achievement, claiming that Samuel P. Langley’s design was actually the first successful airplane. However, the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI), the official body charged with record keeping and standard setting in aeronautics, recognised the December 17, 1903 flight as the first controlled, sustained, powered flight. It was not until 1943 that the Smithsonian Institution finally abandoned its bitter fight against the Wright brothers and acknowledged their pioneering feat. The Wright brothers’ invaluable legacy was aptly summed up by Darrel Collins of the Kitty Hawk National Historical Park thus: “Before the Wright brothers, no one in aviation did anything fundamentally right. Since the Wright brothers, no one has done anything fundamentally different.” SP — Group Captain (Retd) Joseph Noronha, Goa

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MILITARY Asia-Pacific Raytheon to transfer AESA radar technology to India to the level permitted by the US American space and airborne systems company, Raytheon, has said the Indian Air Force (IAF) will get access to cuttingedge radar technology in the form of the AESA radar up to the level permitted by the US government, should it decide to opt for the Boeing F/A18E/F Super Hornet under its global tender for 126 medium-range multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) tender. “We are willing to support Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar technology transfer up to the level the US government allows us,” said Dave Goold from Raytheon’s F-18 business development, Tactical Airborne Systems. “The technology transfer, though likely to be limited, would meet the requirements of the IAF. Our proposal will be compliant with the request for proposal issued by the IAF for the 126 combat aircraft.” Israel missile deal on hold The government has formally put on hold India’s largestever military joint venture with a foreign country, the Rs 10,000 crore ($2.5 billion) effort with Israel to build a medium-range surface-toair missile for the Air Force. The ghost of Barak—the naval missile deal now under investigation by the CBI — is being cited by sources as the key reason behind dumping the project. Sources indicate that the decision is as good as the closure of the JV, given the ongoing CBI probe into the Barak scandal, and the government’s efforts to ensure that the military accepts ‘Akash’, the indigenously developed medium range surface-to-air missile. The proposed missile, a new generation Barak missile, was to have around 70-km range. India-made pilotless plane fails to take off Did the indigenously developed Pilotless Target Aircraft (PTA), which underwent extensive trials and was even inducted into 40

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the IAF eight years back, fail to provide the desired results? If sources at the defence base in Chandipur-on-sea are to be believed, the PTA, also known as Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, didn’t perform as required reportedly forcing the defence authorities to purchase the same from Israel and Italy. The imported PTAs have, however, been successfully test-flown. But what has left the defence experts shocked is that after spending over Rs 165 crore and a lapse of nearly three decades, the Indian PTA, produced by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), did not fully meet the requirements of the IAF. Disclosing the drawbacks of the PTA, the sources said the engine developed by HAL had certain limitations. “But the IAF had accepted these limitations so that training did not get further affected,” a source said. “It was a nightmare for the IAF after it revealed numerous defects

and design deficiencies in PTA. Though these were brought to the notice of the DRDO, none of the improvements was proved. And worse, now the MoD has ordered HAL for bulk production without verifying the aircraft’s performance.” IAF clears Hawk trainers to fly again India’s newly-acquired fleet of Hawk trainers, which had been grounded after a crash at the Bidar airbase in late April, have been cleared to fly again, even as the IAF is yet to fully determine the cause of the accident. Sources said the inquiry will take time to come up with a definitive answer as data from the Flight Data Recorder (FDR), which registers all communication and flight details, has not been examined. The sources added that India does not have the facility to read its contents. The FDR is in the process of being sent abroad, most likely to South Africa where it was manufactured, for detailed examination.

FALCON 7X PASSES 1,000 FLIGHT HOURS

QuickRoundUp AGUSTAWESTLAND • Within the frame work of the first Moscow International Exhibition HeliRussia-2008 Oboronprom Corporation and AgustaWestland, a Finmeccanica company, have declared commencement of a long-term co-operation in the helicopter business. Both the companies have agreed upon a stagewise consolidation. • AgustaWestland has announced that New Zealand’s Ministry of Defence has signed a contract for five AW109 LUH multi-role light twin turbine engine helicopters plus a dedicated flight simulator. The helicopters are scheduled to enter service in 2011. AIRBUS • Airbus has awarded the contract for the design and manufacture of lower composite centre fuselage frame of its new A350 XWB aircraft to US Company Spirit AeroSystems of Wichita, Kansas. BOEING • Just as Airbus hits a rough patch, US aerospace giant and Airbus competitor Boeing has signalled a further ninemonth delay to clients awaiting delivery of its 787 Dreamliner launch, German newspaper Die Welt reported on May 3. Contacted by AFP in London, a Boeing spokesman refused to comment. • The Boeing Company and Asiana Airlines have completed an order for two 777-200ERs. The South Korean airline holds rights to substitute the larger 777-300ER which features increased payload and range capability, if needed, in the future.

The first and only business jet to incorporate a digital flight control system, the Falcon 7X s/n 04 has accumulated over 1,000 flight hours since it entered service last July. The airplane is operated by Dasnair and is based in Geneva, Switzerland. During the nine month span of service, the aircraft has carried over 1,000 passengers and made over 415 stops in 110 countries on five continents. This Falcon 7X is now the fleet leader having flown over 7,50,000 km, including several non-stop flights both to and from Europe and the West Coast of the US. “We’ve flown a great number of long range flights in the 7X,” said Angelo Conti, Managing Director of Dasnair. “And the feedback we’ve received from our passengers has been consistent. The cabin is spacious, quiet and bright. The environment and pressurisation are comfortable. And the airplane stability is exceptional. The digital flight control system provides exceptional control and response, and is particularly appreciated by our pilots.” The aircraft comes standard with the award-winning EASy flight deck designed to reduce pilot workload and improve pilot interaction through elevated situational awareness in the cockpit. Announced at the Paris Air Show in 2001, the Falcon 7X was simultaneously certified by both the European Aviation Safety Agency and Federal Aviation Administration on April 27, 2007.

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• The Boeing Company has been awarded a $5.2 million (Rs 22 crore) US Air Force Research Laboratory contract to demonstrate the effectiveness of Guidance Integrated Fuzing technology developed under the Seeker Integrated Target Endgame Sensor programme. • Boeing has achieved six years of consecutive on-time deliveries for the Minuteman III missile programme with the recent delivery of the 593rd missile guidance set (MGS) to the US Air Force. The MGS has accumulated more than 15.6 million operational hours since its first deployment in August 1999. • The Boeing Company and El Al Israel


Digest

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APPOINTMENTS CHANGES IN THE IAF With effect from May 1, Air Marshal G.S. Kochar moved from the post of Senior Air Staff Officer, Eastern Air Command to HQ Central Air Command in the same appointment. The latter post was vacated by Air Marshal S. Mukherji on his taking over as the Air Officer Personnel at Air HQ. Air Marshal Kochar’s post has been filled by Air Marshal A.S. Karnik. BOEING NAMES HEAD OF FLORIDA CHAPTER Boeing has named Kevin Hoshstrasser site director for its Florida Operations at Kennedy Space Centre. NEW MBDA HR GROUP DIRECTOR European missile systems group MBDA has appointed Craig Murray as its new Group Director Human Resources, succeeding Kim Reid. GULFSTREAM SHUFFLES TOP MANAGEMENT TEAM Gulfstream Aerospace, a subsidiary of General Dynamics, announced changes to its senior management team by appointing Larry Flynn Senior Vice President, Marketing and Sales. On assuming his new position on June 30, Flynn will turn over his product support responsibilities to Mark Burns, a 25-year Gulfstream veteran who has been Vice President, Customer Support, Gulfstream Product Support. NEW CHIEF FOR NORTHROP GRUMMAN NETWORK COMMUNICATIONS Northrop Grumman Corporation has appointed Roger Fujii Vice President and General Manager of Network Communications Division at its Mission Systems sector. PAUL-JEROME EVETTE APPOINTED CEO OF EADS TEST & SERVICES Paul-Jérôme Evette has been appointed CEO of EADS Test & Services within the Business Unit Defence Electronics of EADS Defence & Security. He will report to Bernd Wenzler, CEO Defence Electronics, and succeeds Jean Bultel.

QuickRoundUp

UNLOCKING MARS’ SECRETS After a journey of 10 months traversing more than 400 million miles, Phoenix arrived at the Red Planet to begin its study of water and possible conditions for life ASA’s Phoenix spacecraft landed at Martian arctic site in the northern polar region of Mars on May 25. Phoenix’ three Mars orbiters watched and relayed information from the spacecraft as it plunged into the Martian atmosphere at about 13,000 mph (21,000 kmph). Mission team members at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California comprising members from Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver; and the University of Arizona, Tucson cheered confirmation of the landing and the news that the Phoenix Mars Lander had survived its difficult final descent and touchdown on Mars. “For the first time in 32 years, and only the third time in history, a JPL team has carried out a soft landing on Mars,” said NASA Administrator Michael Griffin, who noted this was the first successful Mars landing without airbags since Viking 2 in 1976. For the next three months, the Phoenix spacecraft will be examining a site which has chances of having frozen water within reach of the lander’s robotic arm. The Phoenix Mission has two bold objectives which are to study the history of water in the Martian arctic and search for evidence of a habitable zone and assess the biological potential of the ice-soil boundary. Among the first critical deployment is the use of the 7.7-foot-long robotic arm on Phoenix during future weeks to get samples of soil and ice into laboratory instruments on the lander deck while a camera mounted on the arm monitors the action. The immediate goals of the Phoenix mission are to study the geologic history of water, and to search for evidence that Mars may have sustained life. Continued research will be done to determine whether dormant organisms could come back to life. As on Earth, the past history of water is found in the subsurface as liquid water changes the chemistry of the ground substance. The questions waiting to be answered according to Dr. Peter Smith of the University of Arizona, Tucson, who is the leader of the Phoenix mission are, “is there life on Mars, has there ever been life on Mars and if there is or was, how does it compare to life on Earth?” It remains to be seen what the data will actually show us but the scientists are assured that they will be provided with many exciting discoveries that they cannot even contemplate now.

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Eurojet Turbo pitches for its engine for Tejas A nine-member delegation from Eurojet Turbo, leading European military aero-engine consortium, recently concluded a three-day workshop for the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), on the feasibility of their engine being used to power the underpowered Tejas Light Combat Aircraft. The workshop comes in the wake of an air force communication to the Ministry of Defence that the Tejas, with its present engine—the General Electric manufactured GE F404 IN20—cannot meet air staff requirements. India plans 1 billion euro Mirage upgrade India is moving towards signing a big contract with France for the upgrade of

the 51 Mirage-2000 fighter jets in the IAF combat fleet, which comes after a $964 million (Rs 4,135.5 crore) deal was inked with Russia to upgrade 63 MiG-29s. The bone of contention between India and France for the Mirage-2000 upgrade, however, remains the huge cost of the deal which is in the region of 1 billion euros (Rs 6,607 crore) and, for which, the negotiations are going on. The upgraded Mirage-2000 jets will get new avionics and, of course, better armaments and weapon systems. DRDO developing hypersonic missile The Indian Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is developing a hypersonic missile that could double up as a long-range

Airlines have completed an order for four 777-200ERs. The Israeli airline has also secured options for two additional 777s and holds conversion rights for the 777-300ER, a larger version of the 777 with increased payload and range capability. CANADIAN SPACE AGENCY • MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd, a provider of essential information solutions has announced it has received a contract from the Canadian Space Agency to continue providing support and enhancements of the Mobile Servicing System (MSS) through 2012. The MSS is a sophisticated information solution critical to the continued maintenance and servicing of the International Space Station. US DEFENSE SECURITY COOPERATION AGENCY • The Defense Security Cooperation Agency has notified the Congress of a possible Foreign Military Sale to Korea of AIM-9X Sidewinder Missiles as well as associated equipment and services. The prime contractor will be Raytheon Electronic Systems Company of Tucson. For now, specific offset agreements are undetermined and will be defined in negotiations between the purchaser and contractor. • The Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of a possible Foreign Military Sale for the Strategic Airlift Capability of two Boeing C-17 Globemaster III aircraft as well as associated equipment and services to an international consortium made up of allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization together with Sweden and Finland. The sale includes AN/ALE-47 Counter-Measures Dispensing System and AN/AAR-47 Missile Warning System apart from other systems and stores. US DEPARTMENT OF DEFENCE, CIVIL PROTECTION AND SPORT • Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport (DDPS) had invited Boeing, Dassault, EADS and Gripen International to submit an offer for the partial replacement of the Tiger fighter aircraft but Boeing has informed that it will not submit an offer for the F/A-18E/F within the evaluation. The DDPS regrets Boeing’s decision, but the company has assured it will continue its full support for the operation and modernisation of the C/D models.

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SAAB UNVEILS PROTOTYPE GRIPEN Estimated to cost $76 million (Rs 324 crore) each, the Gripen has been described as more computer than aircraft. wedish manufacturer Saab has unveiled a prototype Gripen fighter plane that will pioneer a “new generation of technologies and capabilities”. The Swedish technology group says its latest iteration of advanced communications and defensive systems, as well as a recently developed Saab/Thales active electronically-scanned array radar could be retrofitted onto existing versions of the Gripen, such as those now entering service with the SA Air Force. Saab CEO Åke Svensson says the Gripen Demonstrator programme is “the pathfinder to ensure that Gripen remains at the leading-edge of fighter aircraft performance and capability well beyond 2040”. “This is a landmark event for Saab and its international industrial partners (that include several SA companies) and a significant moment in the future of fighter aircraft technology and performance,” said Svensson. Several local companies are providing parts and components to the Gripen programme, including BEE aviation company Aerosud and state arms-maker Denel. Gripen International MD Johan Lehander said the demonstrator programme will showcase new technology for existing and potential Gripen customers. “We have concentrated on the key strategic performance and capability areas. That includes the aircraft sensors, communications fit, weapons load, self-protection systems, range and engine performance. “But we also need to build and deliver a system that remains affordable. In the coming years, Gripen will find itself in a league of its own when it comes to costs, particularly long-term lifecycle costs,” he said at a launch event at Linköping in Sweden. “We are already delivering systems and capabilities that our competitors still can only offer as promises. In the years to come, Gripen will get even more advanced, even more sophisticated while staying every bit as affordable as it is now. We understand cost control.” Estimated to cost $76 million (Rs 324 crore) each, the Gripen has been described as more computer than aircraft. Saab flight test operations manager and test pilot Magnus Olsson says the fighter is fitted with 40 Pentium-type processors to control its cockpit avionics, engine, weapons and flight surfaces through a systems architecture called “fly-by-wire”.

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cruise missile. Besides, it could be used for launching satellites at low cost, according to V.K. Saraswat, Chief Controller, R&D (Missiles and Strategic Systems), DRDO. The Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle (HSTDV) was the new technology initiative of the DRDO. Dr Saraswat said, “The HSTDV project, through which we want to demonstrate the performance of a scram-jet engine at an altitude of 15 km to 20 km, is on. Under this project, we are developing a hypersonic vehicle that will be powered by a scram-jet engine. This is dual-use technology with multiple civilian applications. It can be used for launching satellites at low cost. It will also be available for long-range cruise missiles of the future.” 42

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Israel lags on Phalcon delivery After the Russians and the Americans, with whom the Indian armed forces have issues over delays or conditions attached to their military equipment, it is now the turn of Israel to slip behind schedule for the delivery of high-tech hardware for the IAF. A source in the IAF has confirmed that the delivery of the first Phalcon will be delayed. It was expected in September but is now more likely to reach India only at the end of the first quarter of 2009, disrupting the IAF’s force-building plans. This is the second time that the delivery schedule of the Phalcons has been disrupted. The original schedule envisaged the delivery of the first aircraft in November 2007.

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Pakistan, China threat: IAF to deploy Sukhois With Pakistan getting new F-16s from US and JF-17 ‘Thunder’ jets from China, IAF now has plans to progressively deploy its most potent Su-30 MKI fighters on the western front. This comes after IAF identified Tezpur and other bases in the Northeast to also base the multi-role Sukhois as a safeguard against China, which has gone in for a massive upgrade of airbases in Tibet and other areas near the Line of Actual Control. At present, IAF has just about 60 of the 230 Sukhoi-30MKI fighters contracted from Russia.

Europe EADS to roll out A400M on June 26 European aerospace group EADS plans to roll out the A400M heavy airlifter for first public viewing on June 26. The four-engine turbo-prop aircraft will add tactical and strategic airlift capacity to seven European NATO nations. But production has been delayed by six to 12 months, amid wrangling between developers over engine performance. The A400M has been designed to meet gaps in Europe’s airlift capability and replace ageing Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules and the Franco-German C-160 Transall.

Americas Boeing fires high-energy laser aboard advanced tactical laser aircraft The Boeing Company has fired a high-energy chemical laser aboard a C-130H aircraft in ground tests for the first time, achieving a key milestone for the Advanced Tactical Laser (ATL) Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration programme. “First firing of the high-energy laser aboard the ATL aircraft shows that the programme continues to make good progress toward giving the warfighter an ultra-precision engagement capability that will dramatically reduce collateral damage,” said Scott Fancher, Vice President and General Manager of Boeing Missile Defense Systems.

QuickRoundUp EMBRAER • Embraer has received final approval from Russia’s Interstate Aviation Committee for the 37 to 50-seat ERJ 145 regional jet family, comprised of the 37-seat ERJ 135, the 44-seat ERJ 140, and the 50-seat ERJ 145. • Embraer and Régional, a whollyowned subsidiary of Air France, signed a contract for two additional EMBRAER 170 jets, confirming options originally placed in August 2007. Both aircraft are scheduled for delivery in 2009. FINMECCANICA • Finmeccanica, S.p.A., a world leader in the supply of electronics equipment and defence and security systems and services, and DRS Technologies, Inc., a leading supplier of integrated defence electronics products, services and support, have announced that they have signed a definitive merger agreement under which Finmeccanica will acquire 100 per cent of DRS stock for $81 (Rs 3,475) per share in cash and at an approximate cost of $5.2 billion (Rs 22,308 crore). The transaction allows Finmeccanica to consolidate its international role by entering the US market as a key player. It further allows DRS to seek business opportunities in the US and abroad. INDIAN MINISTRY OF DEFENCE • The Indian Ministry of Defence has clarified that the supply of Hawk aircraft has not been stopped. In fact, two aircraft arrived from UK on May 12, along with large quantities of spares, as per the induction plan. Two more aircraft would arrive in June. ISRAEL AEROSPACE INDUSTRIES • Itzhak Nissan, President and CEO Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd (IAI) and Ratan Tata, Chairman Tata Sons have signed a framework agreement for cooperation in the development, manufacturing, marketing and support of defence products in India. The agreement covers a wide range of defence and aerospace products. L-3 COMMUNICATIONS • L-3 Communications has received a contract from Danish Defence Acquisition and Logistics Organisation to upgrade existing simulators and provide training devices for the


Digest

NEWS

SHOW CALENDAR June 13-15 AEROEXPO 2008 Wycombe Air Park, London. Organiser: World Aviation Events Ltd Email: expo@avbuyer.com June 26 NBAA BUSINESS AVIATION REGIONAL FORUM Dayton, Ohio Organiser: National Business Aviation Association Email: forums@nbaa.org July 14-20 FARNBOROUGH INTERNATIONAL AIRSHOW Organiser: Farnborough International Ltd Email: enquiries@farnborough. com July 23-25 CIAM CANCUN INTERNATIONAL SHOW & CONGRESS Organisers: CIAM Email: jrcarrera@prodigy.net.mx

CIVIL AVIATION Asia-Pacific ASEAN to ink air ties with China, India, Japan, Korea The Philippine Department of Transportation and Communication revealed on May 21 that the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries signed among themselves together with China, India, Japan and Korea an air agreement to be effected in December this year. The ASEAN countries have agreed in principle to liberalise their skies with the possible signing of a ‘common air agreement’ with China, India, Japan and Korea joining in the regional air services grouping. Member countries have already been developing airports with multiple runways.

INDUSTRY Asia-Pacific Samtel, Thales seal on joint venture Samtel Display Systems Ltd and Thales announced on May 8 that they have signed

CESSNA ROLLS OUT FIRST PRODUCTION CITATION XLS+ The Citation XLS+ will travel as fast as 440 knots and have a range of more than 1,800 nautical miles essna has rolled out the first production Citation XLS+ at the company’s primary design and manufacturing facilities in Wichita, Kansas. The XLS+ is the latest version of the world’s best-selling business jet model. The first production unit now will go to paint and interiors, while two flight test aircraft continue to work toward type certification. Federal Aviation Administration certification is expected by mid year, with deliveries starting before the end of 2008. The upgrade to the mid-size Excel/XLS will feature the fully integrated Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21 avionics suite and electronically controlled engines from Pratt & Whitney Canada. Exterior and interior restyling is also integrated into the new model, most prominently the extended contour of the nose and expanded seat widths, both introduced to more closely resemble Cessna’s Citation X and Citation Sovereign models. The Citation XLS+ will travel as fast as 440 knots, have a range of more than 1,800 nautical miles and land on runways as short as 3,180 ft at its maximum landing weight, 2,700 ft at its typical landing weight. Priced at $11.595 million (Rs 49 crore), the XLS+ will continue the tradition of the Excel and XLS as the most affordable stand-up cabin business jet. The family of Excel/XLS aircraft comprises nearly 650 planes with an accumulated total of more than 1.4 million flight hours. The original Citation Excel was delivered in May 1998, followed by the Citation XLS in July 2004. The 500th Excel/XLS was delivered in June 2006, making the Excel/XLS the best-selling aircraft of all business jet models since its introduction..

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an agreement for the creation of the joint venture company, Samtel Thales Avionics Pvt. Ltd. Leveraging on the track record and domain expertise of both companies, Thales and Samtel will work towards the local development, production, sale and maintenance of Helmets Mounted Sight & Display and avionics systems destined for the Indian market.

in Europe and so far buoyant spending in the US are attracting European companies. Honeywell’s top European executive, Paolo Carmassi, said the company was talking to potential partners.

Europe

Boeing’s Wideband Global SATCOM satellite operational The US Air Force has placed Boeing’s first Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) satellite into operation over the Pacific region. WGS is the first operational SATCOM system supporting the government’s transformational communications architecture. Each satellite can transmit information at rates of more than three gigabits per second—more than 10 times the capacity of the government’s Defense Satellite Communications System.

Rheinmetall buys majority stake in Jenoptik’s LDT By acquiring a 51 per cent share in Jenoptik subsidiary Laser Display Technology (LDT) GmbH of Jena, Germany, Rheinmetall Defence has widened its lead as the world’s topmost supplier of simulators for flight crew instruction and training.

Americas Honeywell opens door to Europeans on defence US manufacturer Honeywell International, the world’s largest maker of cockpit systems, could team up with European partners seeking a foothold in the American defence market. A weak dollar, defence cuts

SPACE Americas

Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne successfully completes tests Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne has successfully completed hot-fire tests on heritage J-2 rocket engine components of the new J-2X rocket engine. •

QuickRoundUp Royal Danish Air Force F-16 Midlife Update programme. LOCKHEED MARTIN • Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co., is being awarded a cost plus incentive fee/cost plus award fee contract for $1,463,969,301 (Rs 6,280 crore). This is a new contract for the first increment of the next generation of Global Positioning System, a satellite-based radio navigation system that serves military and civil users world-wide. NORTHROP GRUMMAN • Northrop Grumman Corporation has been selected by Royal Netherlands Air Force to provide the AAR-54 Missile Warning System (MWS) for its CH-47F Chinook helicopters. Under the terms of the contract, Northrop Grumman’s Defencive Systems Division will provide eight MWS ship sets and spares. SAFRAN GROUP • The SAFRAN Group, with extensive operations in North America, is further expanding its presence with the opening of a CFM56 MRO facility in Querétaro, Mexico. SELEX • Selex Galileo of Finmeccanica has signed a contract with Thales Alenia Space to supply the Sea and Land Surface Temperature Radiometer, a crucial element of the Sentinel 3 payload whose main task is the measurement of land and sea surface temperature. SOUTH AFRICAN AIR FORCE • South African Air Force has received its first new Gripen fighter aircraft. As part of its 1999 Strategic Defence Procurement, South Africa had ordered 26 Gripen fighters for its front-line air defence and fighter requirement. THALES • Thales Alenia Space has signed a contract with Korea Telecom to provide their next telecommunication satellite, Koreasat 6. For this contract, Thales Alenia Space has teamed with US manufacturer, Orbital Sciences Corporation. Designed for 15 years lifetime, Koreasat 6 satellite will have 30 active Ku-band transponders with 2,750 kg launch mass and 3.4 kW payload power.

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PHOTOGRAPH: SHARAD SAXENA

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PROCRASTINATION The nation is well aware of the price that has been paid in terms of lives and aircraft lost in the last two decades owing essentially to enigmatic procrastination in the induction of the Hawk

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n April 29, Indian Air Force (IAF) plans to commence training on the newly acquired fleet of Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer (AJT) in February this year suffered a jolt when one of the 10 brand new aircraft crashed at Air Force Station Bidar. As per reports, the aircraft met with an accident during take-off for a training mission and was completely destroyed in post-crash fire. It was indeed providential that there was no loss of life. As is the practice, a Court of Inquiry (C of I) has been ordered to “establish the precise cause of the accident and recommend measures to prevent recurrence”. As a precautionary step, the remaining nine aircraft were grounded pending verdict of the C of I. But subsequently the fleet was cleared to resume flying training within a week of the accident even while investigators sifted through the charred wreckage, poured over data from recording devices, scrutinized orders, instructions, standard operating procedures, maintenance procedures, air traffic control logs as also intimately questioned the host of witnesses. It will take some time before the final word is said and hence it would be inappropriate to be judgmental. At this stage we may only conjecture. But the fact that the fleet has been cleared to fly again without waiting for the findings of the C of I, suggests that prima facie there are good reasons to believe that it is more likely to be a case of error of skill on the part of the pilots. However, in the absence of complete and precise information on the episode, one should not be surprised if doubts about the AJT programme plague the public mind. Unfortunately, fuelling public apprehensions are reports in the media based on sketchy information and incomplete understanding, alleging that some of the components used to manufacture the first batch of aircraft are old, used, rusted or recycled and there are problems in the availability of spares due to which the fleet has had low serviceability since induction. Such reports could also be planted in the media by vested interests. There is admission to the media by BAE Systems that there are issues but only “minor” and that these are being addressed with all sincerity and seriousness as usual. There is, however, no formal acknowledgement from the IAF and one should not expect any. Also, as it is not a practice in the IAF to release to the public domain explicit details of an aircraft accident , it would be reasonable to expect that many would spontaneously presume a link between the accident 44

SP’S AVIATION

Issue 5 • 2008

and quality issues raised by the media. It took 26 years after the need for an AJT was projected by the IAF to actually induct the aircraft for training. At the point in time Hawk emerged as the platform of choice by the IAF, it was a top-of-the-line machine and given the IAF experience with British aircraft such as the Vampire, Hunter and the Canberra, the selection appeared quite logical and the right one. Two decades down the line, however, despite the modern avionics suite, navigation systems and other software driven features, one could easily be misled to believe that the aircraft is not contemporary. Where then does the problem lie? The Indian establishment dithered for over two decades to take a decision. During this period, it is quite likely that Hawk production would have petered out and experienced hands retired or redeployed. If there are any workmanship problems with the aircraft under induction in 2008, it could, in all likelihood be related to lack of technical manpower with high levels of expertise and experience in production of the Hawk which was available two decades ago. Such a situation is not uncommon in cases where large scale production is resumed after a long break. Fortunately, response from BAe to redeem the situation is positive and there is no doubt that the British aerospace major would leave no stone unturned to dispel all doubts about the future of the AJT programme. While the IAF may project the need for hardware, evaluate products from different vendors and indicate the order of preference, in a system where there is civilian control over the military, responsibility of final and timely decision rests with those who control the purse strings—namely, the government. The nation is well aware of the price paid in terms of lives and aircraft lost in the last two decades owing essentially to enigmatic procrastination in the induction of the Hawk. In a democracy, despite rhetoric and lofty pronouncements, the process of decision making is often an agonizingly tardy process. Sometimes, even issues critical to national security are not addressed effectively or promptly in the absence of clear political will and direction. Often major defence deals are mired in post-deal controversy initiated and sustained by internal political paradigms. The acquisition of the Hawk ought to be a case study of significance to the ongoing $10 billion (Rs 42,916 crore) deal to acquire 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft. SP — Air Marshal (Retd) B.K. Pandey


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SP's Aviation May 2008  

Aviation Magazine